FINALISTS
Yin Q
CREATRIX, CITY-WIDE
Bodyofworkers.com | Yinq.net
Developing Body of Workers, a platform for sharing art, stories, and media by and for artists and content makers in the sex industries

Yin Q creates spaces and platforms to advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers through art, storytelling, and celebration. She is the founder of Kink Out and is a core member of Red Canary Song and AAPI grassroots collective that organizes migrant massage and sex workers and connects them to medical, legal, and mutual aid. Yin’s new idea — Body of Workers — will be an online ‘backstage’ for sex workers to create, share, and build community.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Yin Q, an advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers

Troy Walcott
STRIKER, BROOKLYN
Peopleschoice.coop
Striking Spectrum workers launching a cooperative to build community-owned broadband networks that bridge the digital divide for 2.2 million low-income New Yorkers

Troy, a long-time Spectrum worker, led a strike when the company erased employee benefits after its purchase by Time Warner. Today, he’s organizing that same coalition to build a new kind of high speed internet service provider — one that serves low income communities and leverages state-of-the-art technology to minimize costly hardline construction. He envisions including the community in  network ownership, giving marginalized neighborhoods control and increased economic independence.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Troy Walcott, founder of People’s Choice Internet

Sharon Richardson
HEALER, MANHATTAN & QUEENS
Justsoulcatering.com | Reentryrocks.org
Dismantling barriers for formerly incarcerated survivors of domestic violence through creative arts, training, mentorship, and counseling

Sharon started Just Soul Catering in 2015, a small business that not only brings fantastic soul food to New York City, but also provides jobs, education, and advocacy to its formerly incarcerated woman identified and non binary participants . Just Soul Catering works in tandem with Re-Entry Rocks which offers a full array of services, from dance focused on healing to entrepreneurship preparation and incubation and from mentorship to training in food preparation and event set-up. Sharon and her team have created a close community dedicated to addressing the unique issues faced by survivors of both domestic violence and incarceration.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Sharon Richardson, founder of Just Soul Catering and Re-Entry Rocks

Shams DaBaron
ACTIVIST, MANHATTAN
Politico.com/MayoralHopefulsFaceQuestionsonHomelessness
Advocating for homeless New Yorkers by working with advocates, elected officials, shelter providers, non-profits, and policymakers to build more housing and knock out the roots of homelessness

Shams, dubbed ‘Da Homeless Hero,’ knows NYC’s homeless system from the inside, having experienced homelessness since the age of 10, even raising his son in the family shelter system toward graduation and a high school diploma. Shams has led the conversation regarding the Lucerne Hotel, designated a temporary shelter during the pandemic to public outcry. Whether brokering mayoral conversations or detailing the policies and services necessary to support vulnerable New Yorkers, Shams is a relentless advocate, speaking with those directly impacted, elected officials, faith leaders — anyone who will listen. He’s a bridge builder, a strong voice at the table, and the accountability watchdog the city didn’t know it needed.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Shams DaBaron, an advocate fighting for dignified housing for people experiencing houselessness

Ravi Ragbir
CATALYST, BROOKLYN
Istandwithravi.org
Re-imagining freedom for people of color and immigrants targeted by unjust criminal and immigration systems by using the defense committee model to expand the idea of Sanctuary beyond physical space

Since his release from ICE custody, Ravi has worked tirelessly to stop deportations and expose a system confusing even to experts in the field of immigration rights. While leading protests and participating in vigils and civil disobedience around 26 Federal Plaza — ICE’s HQ — Ravi envisioned a plan to partner non-citizens with citizens who accompany them during immigration proceedings. In parallel, he built a legal clinic for those without representation. Ravi’s extensive network now includes committed citizens who rally, garner media attention, and re-imagine ‘protection’ for those at risk of deportation, educating the public and helping to keep thousands of people in the US.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of activist Ravi Ragbir

Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
ORGANIZER, MANHATTAN & BRONX
Incarceratednationnetwork.org
Bridging the gap of services for justice impacted young adults serving multi-year community supervision sentences within NYC, YAPP trains, mentors, employs, and houses NYC’s future

Five is a long-time advocate within the criminal justice space who has authored policies to reduce solitary confinement, founded Incarcerated Nation, and spent decades collaborating with anti-prison organizations in New York and across the country. Now he is launching the Youth Anti Prison Project, recognizing severe gaps in the system of long-term community supervision and support for youth coming home from prison. The project mentors, trains, houses and employs justice-impacted young adults through a variety of academies that last throughout their community supervision sentences, using expert trauma-informed care to give these often forgotten youth a real second chance.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Five Mualimm-ak, founder of Incarcerated Nation

Michael Angelo Roberson
THEOLOGIAN, BROOKLYN
Watch Michael's Ted Talk to learn more about his work
Uplifting the House Ball scene as a beloved community of Black/Latinx LGBT folks through radical education, chosen family, and public health advocacy

Michael believes that ballroom can speak profound truths about humanity and struggle. The Freedom School, named after the late great Ballroom Icon, Arbert Santana, strives to be a beloved community in the old sense — not an ordinary brick and mortar institution, but a forum to channel events, literature and pedagogy, leadership, mentorship, and identity for NYC’s Black / Latinx / LGBT ballroom family.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Michael Angelo Roberson, an advocate working towards the invigoration of the House Ball scene

Liz Jackson
TROUBLEMAKER, BROOKLYN
Linktr.ee/eejackson
Redesigning the diagnostic process for chronic, invisible illnesses, by centering the knowledge of ill people and communities

Medical diagnoses are seen as final answers, deduced by all-knowing medical professionals who translate symptoms into objective clinical signs and accredited illnesses. Within this framework there is little room for chronically, invisibly ill patients whose symptoms do not readily translate into those signs. Their desire to be diagnosed is often regarded with suspicion and equated with a desire to be sick. But for many chronically ill people, including Liz, diagnosis means gaining access to the language of their body, learning how to recognize and respond to its needs, and work with it rather than constantly fighting against it. For this reason, Liz wants to compile, analyze and map the nuanced body-languages of chronically ill New Yorkers, and use them to create tools that not only support undiagnosed people to recognize and understand events within their own bodies, but also change the way we think about diagnosis itself.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Liz Jackson, founding member of The Disabled List

Kristin Wallace
AMPLIFIER, STATEN ISLAND
Makerparkradio.nyc
Creating a platform to teach empathy and understanding of our neighbors in Staten Island -- New York’s forgotten borough

By illuminating the lore and culture of Staten Island via a media hub and FM radio station, Kristin wants to increase appreciation for the many cultures and neighborhoods of NYC’s most outer borough.  She gives the tools and mic to Staten Islanders to amplify their special stories, culture, and artistic talents. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Kristin Wallace, founder of MakerPark Radio

Ken Lewis
COOPERATOR, BROOKLYN
Drivers.coop
Building an ethical, driver-centered ride-hailing company to help 50,000 plus NYC rideshare drivers build economic stability and transform the for hire industry

Ken is a founder of The Driver’s Cooperative, which operates Coop-Ride, a new ride hailing taxi service. Coop-Ride is owned by the drivers who are involved in democratically running their Company.  Drivers pay just 15% on fares and profits will be shared among member-owners. Ken has spent most of his working life in New York City passenger transportation, including at signature programs as Access-A-Ride and EZPass.  Like many of his fellow immigrants, he started life in NY as a cab driver and drives to this day. Along the way, he has seen this once respected occupation — a pathway to the American Dream for countless immigrants — become decimated by exploitative ride-hailing giants. Coop-Ride, is not only an innovative ride-hailing service, but also a movement to transform drivers’ economic circumstances and restore dignity to New York’s driver community. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Ken Lewis, founder of The Drivers Cooperative

Jaime-Jin Lewis
INNOVATOR, BROOKLYN
Wiggleroomnow.com | Twitter.com/jaimejin
Fighting for a more durable and dynamic childcare system where providers, families, and children thrive

Jaime-Jin Lewis envisions a New York where every parent has access to affordable, quality childcare; every child is surrounded by a caring community; and the majority-woman-powered workforce of childcare providers enjoys dignified jobs with fair pay. She founded Wiggle Room to innovate solutions toward these goals. Jaime-Jin organized #WorkersNeedChildcare, a hotline to help essential workers navigate childcare during the pandemic, and #CareTogetherNYC, a mutual aid project to disburse cash assistance to essential workers with untenable childcare costs due to school and daycare closures. She is currently launching a new platform that connects two overlooked communities: parents who work fluctuating, hourly jobs and home-based childcare providers.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Jaime-Jin Lewis, founder of Wiggle Room, a platform to make childcare more accessible for NYC families

Hackett
INCITER, BROOKLYN
Learn more about Hackett's work in this New York Times article
Take trash. Add science. Produce clean fuel.

Using a unusual skillset, which includes dumpster diving, moonshining, and collaborative DIY, Hackett has developed a way to produce a clean, renewable gasoline replacement from bread — specifically the mountain of unsold and imperfect bread thrown away in NYC every day that contains volumes of potential energy in its concentrated carbs. His worker-owned co-op will intercept this waste and then ferment and distill it into renewable, low-emission ethanol fuel. Like the movement to transform used fry oil into biodiesel, this process represents a new pathway to sustainability and community ownership of a cleaner future.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Hackett, founder of a new cooperative that turns bakery waste into fuel

Gladys Jones
CHAMPION FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS, STATEN ISLAND
Eceonthemove.com
Advocating for representation, fair pay, and benefits for thousands of family childcare professionals who provide essential services throughout NYC

Gladys is the co-founder of ECE on the Move, a group of more than 600 early childhood educators working in residential settings in New York City. Sometimes called “home-based childcare workers” or “family child care providers,” ECE on the Move uses the term “early childhood educators,” which more accurately reflects their many skills. Gladys and her co-founder, Doris Irizarry, spent years organizing providers, but eventually tired of the lack of respect and representation they saw in politics and policies affecting their industry. They formally established ECE on the Move in 2019 and have built a thriving community of early childhood educators mobilized for positive change.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Gladys Jones, co-founder of Early Childhood Educators on the Move

Gabrielle Prisco
CONNECTOR, BROOKLYN
Lineageproject.org
Building The Core Collective, an intentional community - both a physical space housing a “one-stop center” designed by and for young people, and a nonprofit collaborative offering co-working space, administrative support, and shared resources for a curated group of NYC-based nonprofits that work with young people

Creative connector and nonprofit leader Gabrielle Prisco has spent nearly twenty years working with young people—as an attorney, policy advocate, and Co-Executive Director of a nonprofit teaching trauma-sensitive mindfulness to young people inside NYC systems. Throughout, she’s seen young people—particularly Black and brown young people—systematically failed by our city, and “youth” nonprofits routinely stretched beyond capacity.  

 

Gabrielle’s vision partners young people and nonprofit leaders in The Core Collective: a holistic “one-stop” community center for young people and shared home for a curated group of smaller NYC “youth” nonprofits. When young people arrive, what they need will be there—from art, coding, and entrepreneurial support to legal and medical services. Simultaneously, resident nonprofits will benefit from daily proximity to youth and one another, and from shared space, fundraising, and administrative staff—freeing them to be more mission-focused. Ultimately, Gabrielle envisions a public-private partnership to secure a building for the center and income-generating rentals.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Gabrielle Prisco, Co-Executive Director of The Lineage Project

Felicia Wilson
MENTOR, BROOKLYN
Wauinc.org
Advocating for youth and young adults transitioning out of the NYC foster care system to receive the resources and supports needed to thrive through the lens of an alumna -- from financial literacy and housing, to mental healthcare and life skills training

Felicia has dedicated her life to supporting young people within and aging out of New York City’s foster care system. Raised in care from the age of four, Felicia knows the power of targeted, high quality services. Her new non-profit, What About Us, will provide mentoring, financial management training, job training and placement, and mental health support. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Felicia Wilson, founder of What About Us and advocate for youth in foster care

Fela Barclift
JEGNA, BROOKLYN
Littlesunpeople.com
Partnering with parents and community to foster self-esteem and unassailably positive identity through an Afrocentric/Culturally Responsive curriculum built on 40 years of experience in early childhood education

NYC’s youngest residents deserve to be seen, heard and loved in their classrooms — particularly Black and Brown children who too often start at a disadvantage. For 40 years, Fela Barclift has led Little Sun People, an early childhood education center in Brooklyn with an Afrocentric/Culturally Responsive curriculum where children ages 2-5 can express themselves through African dance, drumming, music, martial arts, chess,  and play. Fela’s kids learn and grow by gardening, cooking, taking field trips (offsite, on campus, and virtually) and by supporting local Black-owned businesses.  It’s a community that joyfully celebrates, learns from, and is inspired by the countless contributions people of African descent have made to NYC and around the globe.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Fela Barclift, founder of Little Sun People, a childcare program with an African centered focus

Darnell Benoit
EDUCATOR, BROOKLYN
Flanbwayan.org
Using technology to help newcomer immigrant youth build relationships, encounter unexpected influences, and engage in educational activities outside school

After 14 years as a New York City ESL instructor and frustrated by the lack of resources for immigrant students, Darnell Benoit founded Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project in 2005. FHLC fights for change in the NYC Public School System so that newcomer youth can receive necessary support — neither defined nor limited by discrimination, isolation, or language barriers. The Immigrant Youth Project (IYLP) will use technology to build a safe citywide support network where young immigrants can build relationships, encounter unexpected influences, and engage in educational activities outside school walls. Using dance, art, music, filmmaking, podcasts, book clubs, and leadership development activities, the IYLP will create new pathways for recent newcomers to co-create community and wellbeing.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Darnell Benoit, founder of Flanbwayan and advocate for immigrant youth city-wide

Carmen Mojica
MIDWIFE, BRONX
Twitter.com/parteranegra
Highlighting the interplay of maternal health and community in the Bronx with a bilingual program emphasizing childbirth education, reproductive literacy, and lifelong sexual health

Carmen is a fierce advocate for reproductive health and justice, specifically to improve care for women of color — especially for Black women who are twelve times more likely to die in childbirth than white women in New York City — and increase young people’s access to sexual education. Because care is rooted in community, Carmen frames the maternal health conversation as a responsibility for all New Yorkers.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Carmen Mojica, a midwife and advocate for reproductive health and justice

Caridad De La Luz
POET, BRONX
Instagram.com/labrujaNYC
Using the power of spoken word and indigenous practices to uplift, unify, and heal diasporic Puerto Rican, LGBTQ and BIPOC at “El Garaje” - a 1920s trucking garage in the Bronx that doubles as an art and wellness cultivation center

Caridad is a Bronx native, world-renowned spoken word artist known as “La Bruja,” who transformed a 100-year old garage behind her home into a cultural, art, and spiritual center. She envisions El Garaje as a site for creative residencies, learning and projection projects, and a sanctuary space for indigenous artists, activists, and practitioners. After opening its doors in 2016, she learned that it is built on what once was a Siwanoy village called Snakapins. Ultimately, the vision is for El Garaje to become a historic site and beacon from which a new village can emerge in the Soundview section of The Bronx.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Caridad de la Luz, also known as La Bruja, founder of a community art space in Soundview, Bronx called El Garaje

Cesar Vargas
DISRUPTOR, STATEN ISLAND
Read the latest on Cesar's work in this Gothamist article
Building a coalition to provide competent legal counsel to immigrants (and their families) serving in the Armed Forces as they navigate immigration and military law

More than half a million US veterans were born outside the United States, and nearly two million are US-born children of immigrants. Cesar Vargas was born in Mexico, grew up undocumented in the US, and went on to serve in the armed forces. Now the first undocumented lawyer in the country focuses on this nexus — working to ensure fair and accessible immigration services for active service members and veterans vulnerable to deportation.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Cesar Vargas, an advocate for immigrants serving in the military

Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
STREET SISTER, BROOKLYN
Instagram.com/ourhome_nyc
Developing a self-sustaining community of mobile homes for people in need, such as those experiencing homelessness, especially those who suffer from severe alcohol disorder

Ana Maria Martinez de Luco is a street nun who founded Sure We Can, a Brooklyn non-profit where people who survive by collecting cans and bottles come together with students and neighbors. Now Ana is launching Our Home, a project to build and support a community of tiny homes in New York City. Our Home is a lifeline for homeless individuals and others challenged by substance abuse and complex immigration profiles. Our Home residents thrive and regain control of their lives, thanks to the web of services and community supports provided. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Ana Maria Martinez de Luco, founder of Sure We Can and co-creator of Our Home

Robert Gore
DOCTOR, BROOKLYN
Kavibrooklyn.org | Instagram.com/siriema22
BRINGING TRAUMA-INFORMED METHODOLOGIES TO FRONTLINE CARE IN ORDER TO IMPROVE OUTCOMES FOR ALL NEW YORKERS

Robert Gore is an emergency physician and founder of the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI). Drawing from 7+ years of experience, Robert hopes to reach all NYC frontline workers — police officers, healthcare workers, educators, firefighters — with a new virtual training program in holistic care and trauma-informed response. Robert envisions a New York where providers and recipients of care have the tools to transform trauma, leading to better physical and mental health outcomes.

Suzette Brown
DOCTOR, QUEENS
Strongchildrenwellness.com
INTEGRATING BEST-IN-CLASS PEDIATRIC CARE WITHIN TRUSTED SOCIAL SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS AND ALIGNING PAYMENTS TO HEALTH OUTCOMES

Suzette is a pediatrician seeking to transform the way healthcare is delivered in NYC’s marginalized communities by using a ‘reverse integration’ model of care. After working with a single mom of seven who had become homeless after fleeing domestic violence, Suzette was inspired to collaborate within the fragmented social service / mental health system to more holistically support families. The Strong Children Wellness model embeds pediatric clinics within existing community-based social service and mental health organizations so that a comprehensive team — not just doctors — can fully address the needs of children and families. Strong Children Wellness plans to pilot a value-based payment system for pediatric care that is tied to improved health and well-being outcomes.

Father Michael Lopez
CATHOLIC PRIEST, QUEENS
Monkworx.org
BUILDING A FAITH-BASED BLUEPRINT TO ADDRESS FOOD INSECURITY AND PROVIDE TEMPORARY SHELTER

Father Michael Lopez is a Catholic priest and the creator of Hungry Monks, a mobile food pantry based in Ridgewood that exponentially increased service during the coronavirus pandemic. (If you’d asked 8-year-old Mike what kind of priest he would want to be, his answer probably would have been simply “a good one.”) Michael has transformed his church basement into a shelter — using a monastery model — and is creating a roadmap for other faith-based institutions to follow suit.

Laundromat Owner and Visionary
ENTREPRENEUR, BROOKLYN
UTILIZING A LOCAL LAUNDROMAT AS A HUB FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
This Brooklynite is using her laundromat business to empower domestic violence victims, offering free wash-and-folds, clothing drives, and job training. Her initiative creates a roadmap for transforming other everyday New York storefronts into incubators of social change.
 
Kit Yan
STORYTELLER, CITYWIDE
Interstatemusical.com
TRANSFORMING THE STAGES OF NEW YORK TO SHARE STORIES FROM TRANSGENDER AND QUEER PEOPLE OF COLOR (LGBTQ POC)

Kit Yan and Melissa Li want to bring vibrant nontraditional voices to Broadway with their musical Interstate, a coming-of-age story about Queer and Trans Asian-American experiences. The musical, developed in NYC over 8 years, opened in Minneapolis to packed audiences and rave reviews. This underdog show wants to return home to New York and open on Broadway, empowering an important community of New Yorkers who deserve to be seen and heard.

Edafe Okporo
ACTIVIST, MANHATTAN
Rdjrefugeeshelter.org
BRINGING HUMANITY TO HOMELESSNESS IN A SHELTER THAT PRIORITIZES COMMUNITY AND HEALING FOR REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS

Edafe is striving to end street homelessness through partnerships with faith institutions and with targeted advocacy. The RDJ Refugee Shelter is more than a shelter; it’s a space where asylum-seekers and immigrants can access community and start to rebuild their lives. There are currently 83,000 people looking for housing in NYC, and Edafe’s mission is to ensure every New Yorker can transition with dignity to safe housing.

Cielo Villa
ENTREPRENEUR, QUEENS
Instagram.com/road_to_uni | Facebook.com/roadtouni
REDEFINING COLLEGE GUIDANCE FOR YOUNG NEW YORKERS WHO ARE FIRST GENERATION, UNDOCUMENTED, AND / OR LACK CRITICAL RESOURCES

Cielo wants to ensure all marginalized NYC students can realize their college dreams — not just a lucky few with top test scores or leadership roles. Cielo is building an online resource called Road to Uni that will act as a supercharged, hyper-accessible college advisor, open to all and offering a gamified roadmap with quick informational videos, live support, and actionable resources to navigate the overwhelming college admissions process.

Maria Guadalupe Martinez
EDUCATOR, MANHATTAN
Creany.org
EMPOWERING IMMIGRANT PARENTS TO WORK TOWARDS THEIR AMERICAN DREAMS AND SUPPORT THEIR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT

While serving as a PTA member at her children’s school, Maria developed a plan to help immigrant women gain access to education in the USA. This vision became Centro de Recursos Educativos para Adultos (CREA), a space in East Harlem offering adult literacy and education to parents across the five boroughs. The program currently serves 170+ people. More than an education platform, CREA equips parents with skills to become active participants in and advocates for their children’s growth.

Nelson Luna
ACTIVIST, BRONX
Teenstakecharge.com
USING MEDIA AND STUDENT ORGANIZING TO PUSH NEW YORK TOWARD A MORE INTEGRATED, EQUITABLE EDUCATION FUTURE
Nelson is a product of New York City’s public school system who now attends Columbia University. At 16, Nelson, along with fellow students, launched Teens Take Charge, a student activist group. His plan is to push New York to become a leader in providing integrated, equitable, quality education to every student — regardless of their status or zip code.
Sutton King
ADVOCATE, CITYWIDE
Urbanindigenouscollective.org | Learn more here
INDIGENIZING EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURES AND ENSURING CULTURAL HUMILITY IN HEALTH AND WELLNESS SERVICES
More than 100K Native Americans live in New York City — making this the largest population of Urban Natives in the United States. Sutton founded the Urban Indigenous Collective to bring together and elevate the Indigenous population, create better access to health services, and build community.  
Yin Kong
URBANIST, MANHATTAN
Thinkchinatown.org
BUILDING GENERATIONAL COMMUNITY IN CHINATOWN THROUGH CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, STORYTELLING AND THE ARTS

Yin believes Chinatown’s survival depends on the community’s ability to advocate for equal access to resources. Together with an intergenerational group of volunteers, she built Think!Chinatown, a non-profit focusing on neighborhood engagement fostered by storytelling and the arts. Through projects like Chinatown Arts Week, The Art of Storytelling, & Everyday Chinatown, T!C honors, explores, and presents the culture and history of the community that have long made NYC’s Chinatown a vibrant immigrant neighborhood. Guided by an older generation of Chinatown organizers, Yin directs community actions to address neighborhood issues. Yin dreams of hosting kitchen classes, artists residencies, art exhibits, & community workshops in a permanent space for and in Chinatown.

Su Sanni
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Dollaride.com
RE-IMAGINING TRANSIT DESERTS AND EASING COMMUTES BY IMPROVING ACCESS TO DOLLAR VAN DRIVERS

Su is transforming urban transit for the many New Yorkers without access to the city’s public transportation system. Dollaride eases the connection between riders and vans-for-hire with transparent routes, consistent schedules, and mobile payments. Su hopes to connect the extensive dollar van network to existing public infrastructure and expand their territory to improve economic mobility.

Stefan Henry
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Levelthecurve.com
MAKING NEW YORK CITY MORE ACCESSIBLE WITH USER-FRIENDLY, BEAUTIFUL TOOLS TO AID PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Stefan is a user-centric designer who wants to make it easier for people with disabilities to thrive in New York City. Stefan and his team have developed tools that make a variety of daily tasks more accessible, like an easy- to-deploy lightweight wheelchair ramp; a multipurpose eating utensil; and an arm-support to help users play video games. His vision is simple: achieve accessibility and independence for people with disabilities by re-imagining everyday devices.

Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
CONNECTOR, CITY-WIDE
Twitter.com/rasmiakf | Instagram.com/rasmiak
BUILDING TRUST TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING IN NEW YORK CITY BY CENTERING RESIDENTS AND CREATING, SOMETIMES, UNLIKELY PARTNERSHIPS

One in 15 New Yorkers lives in public housing — many of them the public servants who keep New York City safe and vibrant. But too often this huge and critical system is overlooked or given up as an intractable problem. Rasmia wants to reinvent our public housing system by building networks from generative, community-centered relationships to embrace “truth and reconciliation,” and develop real action plans to change the system. 

Manuel Castro
ORGANIZER, QUEENS
Nynice.org | Página en español
LEADING AN INNOVATIVE HUB OF WORKER CENTERS WHERE UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS CAN ACCESS SAFE AND FAIR PAYING JOBS

Manuel’s journey across the Mexico-US border at the age of five with his mother sparked a passion for helping others envision and find opportunity. As an early DREAMer – a movement of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children – Manuel now leads New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a grassroots organization that provides NYC’s day laborers and new immigrants with support services and leadership development programs. Manuel wants to test new ways of organizing this critical and essential workforce citywide around cooperative work and social and economic justice.

Chino Hardin
ORGANIZER, BROOKLYN
Nuleadership.org | Bklynboihood.com
DISRUPTING THE CYCLE OF MASS INCARCERATION AND INEQUITY BY CONNECTING THOSE IMPACTED TO NATURE AND INDIGENOUS & BLACK HEALING PRACTICES

Chino’s lived experience as a formerly incarcerated, Black and Indiginous Trans person provides deep inspiration for NuLegacy, a program designed to support Black, Indigenous, Queer & Trans New Yorkers whose lives have been devastated by prison involvement.  His radical idea?  To use ancestral healing practices and connect folks — sometimes for the first time — to nature.  For the last 20 years, Chino has taught youth and families in Bedstuy that stewardship of land and community can lead to healing and transformation.

Somia Elrowmeim
ORGANIZER, BROOKLYN
Facebook.com/OfficialUAWNYC
BUILDING A COOPERATIVE FOR ARAB AMERICAN WOMEN THAT'S HALF BAKERY AND HALF AN EDUCATION, SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT ENGINE

Somia is a community organizer, educator, and advocate. Somia’s passion for empowering women and fighting for human rights began when she was a student leader at Sana’a University in Yemen, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mathematics. Since moving to New York City, Somia has led Arab women in south Brooklyn. Somia is launching a bakery that will double as an economic empowerment vehicle for Arab American women in their community. Structured as a cooperative, Somia’s social enterprise can become a blueprint for other affinity groups and neighborhoods that aspire to amplify their members’ talents to build economic assets.

Antya Waegemann
DESIGNER, CITYWIDE
Redesignthekit.com
IMPROVING THE EXPERIENCE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS BY REDESIGNING THE EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS USED IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM AND BEYOND
Antya is a designer and advocate working at the intersection of survivors and health professionals in the aftermath of sexual assault.  In collaboration with co-founder Lona Vincent and an amazing community of non-profits, social workers, medical professionals, political leaders, and legal experts, Antya is working on an integrated resource – a redesigned sexual assault evidence kit and a digital app. For survivors, this project aims to improve accessibility, transparency and the experience of finding and getting kits. For healthcare providers, it will make it easier to administer kits, allowing them to provide better, trauma-informed care to patients in and out of the emergency room.
 
Marco Saavedra
BRIDGE BUILDER, BRONX
Lamoradanyc.com
CREATING A SANCTUARY FOR IMMIGRANTS OUT OF HIS FAMILY'S RESTAURANT IN THE SOUTH BRONX

Marco is a member of the Dream 9. Now he’s organizing in the South Bronx to benefit other immigrants, using his family’s restaurant La Morada as base camp for a community response team and gatherings to share knowledge and tools to fight ICE raids. The restaurant has become a true sanctuary space where undocumented people, families and allies can share, learn and eat. 

Deborah Navarro
TECHNOLOGIST, CITYWIDE
Lightly.me | View tech in action
CREATING EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE TRANSIT SOLUTIONS FOR NYC USING AIR LEVITATION TECHNOLOGY

Deborah is a leader in air-levitation technology designed to autonomously move goods and people from one point to the next. (Cred: she won Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition after being told she didn’t qualify). Deborah is taking this technology to the streets to reimagine the way New Yorkers move through the city — safely, quickly, and with low carbon emissions. She aims to create a community driven transportation revolution that empowers New Yorkers to be a part of the conversation and design.

Akili Hinson
DOCTOR, MANHATTAN
Juno.care
BUILDING A ONE-STOP SOLUTION OFFERING EVERYDAY FAMILY HEALTHCARE FOR THE 99%

Akili is building the new healthcare home New York City’s families. Juno Medical is a one-stop solution for you and your family’s everyday care needs that features exceptional hospitality, modern technology, and transparent prices that won’t break the bank. Akili and his team believe that great care is for everyone, so he’s set out to build a premier consumer healthcare brand that’s designed for the 99%.   

Domingo Morales
COMPOST GURU, CITYWIDE
Instagram.com/CompostPower
REUSING NEW YORK CITY'S ORGANIC WASTE AND MAKING IT COOL TO COMPOST

One third of NYC’s trash is organic — but too often this useful waste gets wasted. Domingo is working to solve this problem and grow plants for New York’s tomorrow. And after managing Red Hook Farms’s composting operation, he’s an expert in food chemistry, safe and healthy composting habits, and teaching others to make it happen. Domingo is developing a ‘how to’ compost guide and launching a new podcast called Compost Power to share expertise in support of composting processes around the city. 

Yin Q Yin Q
Yin Q
Yin Q
CREATRIX, CITY-WIDE
Bodyofworkers.com | Yinq.net
Developing Body of Workers, a platform for sharing art, stories, and media by and for artists and content makers in the sex industries

Yin Q creates spaces and platforms to advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers through art, storytelling, and celebration. She is the founder of Kink Out and is a core member of Red Canary Song and AAPI grassroots collective that organizes migrant massage and sex workers and connects them to medical, legal, and mutual aid. Yin’s new idea — Body of Workers — will be an online ‘backstage’ for sex workers to create, share, and build community.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Yin Q, an advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers

Troy Walcott Troy Walcott
Troy Walcott
Troy Walcott
STRIKER, BROOKLYN
Peopleschoice.coop
Striking Spectrum workers launching a cooperative to build community-owned broadband networks that bridge the digital divide for 2.2 million low-income New Yorkers

Troy, a long-time Spectrum worker, led a strike when the company erased employee benefits after its purchase by Time Warner. Today, he’s organizing that same coalition to build a new kind of high speed internet service provider — one that serves low income communities and leverages state-of-the-art technology to minimize costly hardline construction. He envisions including the community in  network ownership, giving marginalized neighborhoods control and increased economic independence.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Troy Walcott, founder of People’s Choice Internet

Sharon Richardson Sharon Richardson
Sharon Richardson
Sharon Richardson
HEALER, MANHATTAN & QUEENS
Justsoulcatering.com | Reentryrocks.org
Dismantling barriers for formerly incarcerated survivors of domestic violence through creative arts, training, mentorship, and counseling

Sharon started Just Soul Catering in 2015, a small business that not only brings fantastic soul food to New York City, but also provides jobs, education, and advocacy to its formerly incarcerated woman identified and non binary participants . Just Soul Catering works in tandem with Re-Entry Rocks which offers a full array of services, from dance focused on healing to entrepreneurship preparation and incubation and from mentorship to training in food preparation and event set-up. Sharon and her team have created a close community dedicated to addressing the unique issues faced by survivors of both domestic violence and incarceration.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Sharon Richardson, founder of Just Soul Catering and Re-Entry Rocks

Shams DaBaron Shams DaBaron
Shams DaBaron
Shams DaBaron
ACTIVIST, MANHATTAN
Politico.com/MayoralHopefulsFaceQuestionsonHomelessness
Advocating for homeless New Yorkers by working with advocates, elected officials, shelter providers, non-profits, and policymakers to build more housing and knock out the roots of homelessness

Shams, dubbed ‘Da Homeless Hero,’ knows NYC’s homeless system from the inside, having experienced homelessness since the age of 10, even raising his son in the family shelter system toward graduation and a high school diploma. Shams has led the conversation regarding the Lucerne Hotel, designated a temporary shelter during the pandemic to public outcry. Whether brokering mayoral conversations or detailing the policies and services necessary to support vulnerable New Yorkers, Shams is a relentless advocate, speaking with those directly impacted, elected officials, faith leaders — anyone who will listen. He’s a bridge builder, a strong voice at the table, and the accountability watchdog the city didn’t know it needed.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Shams DaBaron, an advocate fighting for dignified housing for people experiencing houselessness

Ravi Ragbir Ravi Ragbir
Ravi Ragbir
Ravi Ragbir
CATALYST, BROOKLYN
Istandwithravi.org
Re-imagining freedom for people of color and immigrants targeted by unjust criminal and immigration systems by using the defense committee model to expand the idea of Sanctuary beyond physical space

Since his release from ICE custody, Ravi has worked tirelessly to stop deportations and expose a system confusing even to experts in the field of immigration rights. While leading protests and participating in vigils and civil disobedience around 26 Federal Plaza — ICE’s HQ — Ravi envisioned a plan to partner non-citizens with citizens who accompany them during immigration proceedings. In parallel, he built a legal clinic for those without representation. Ravi’s extensive network now includes committed citizens who rally, garner media attention, and re-imagine ‘protection’ for those at risk of deportation, educating the public and helping to keep thousands of people in the US.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of activist Ravi Ragbir

Mr. Five Mualimm-ak Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
ORGANIZER, MANHATTAN & BRONX
Incarceratednationnetwork.org
Bridging the gap of services for justice impacted young adults serving multi-year community supervision sentences within NYC, YAPP trains, mentors, employs, and houses NYC’s future

Five is a long-time advocate within the criminal justice space who has authored policies to reduce solitary confinement, founded Incarcerated Nation, and spent decades collaborating with anti-prison organizations in New York and across the country. Now he is launching the Youth Anti Prison Project, recognizing severe gaps in the system of long-term community supervision and support for youth coming home from prison. The project mentors, trains, houses and employs justice-impacted young adults through a variety of academies that last throughout their community supervision sentences, using expert trauma-informed care to give these often forgotten youth a real second chance.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Five Mualimm-ak, founder of Incarcerated Nation

Michael Angelo Roberson Michael Angelo Roberson
Michael Angelo Roberson
Michael Angelo Roberson
THEOLOGIAN, BROOKLYN
Watch Michael's Ted Talk to learn more about his work
Uplifting the House Ball scene as a beloved community of Black/Latinx LGBT folks through radical education, chosen family, and public health advocacy

Michael believes that ballroom can speak profound truths about humanity and struggle. The Freedom School, named after the late great Ballroom Icon, Arbert Santana, strives to be a beloved community in the old sense — not an ordinary brick and mortar institution, but a forum to channel events, literature and pedagogy, leadership, mentorship, and identity for NYC’s Black / Latinx / LGBT ballroom family.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Michael Angelo Roberson, an advocate working towards the invigoration of the House Ball scene

Liz Jackson Liz Jackson
Liz Jackson
Liz Jackson
TROUBLEMAKER, BROOKLYN
Linktr.ee/eejackson
Redesigning the diagnostic process for chronic, invisible illnesses, by centering the knowledge of ill people and communities

Medical diagnoses are seen as final answers, deduced by all-knowing medical professionals who translate symptoms into objective clinical signs and accredited illnesses. Within this framework there is little room for chronically, invisibly ill patients whose symptoms do not readily translate into those signs. Their desire to be diagnosed is often regarded with suspicion and equated with a desire to be sick. But for many chronically ill people, including Liz, diagnosis means gaining access to the language of their body, learning how to recognize and respond to its needs, and work with it rather than constantly fighting against it. For this reason, Liz wants to compile, analyze and map the nuanced body-languages of chronically ill New Yorkers, and use them to create tools that not only support undiagnosed people to recognize and understand events within their own bodies, but also change the way we think about diagnosis itself.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Liz Jackson, founding member of The Disabled List

Kristin Wallace Kristin Wallace
Kristin Wallace
Kristin Wallace
AMPLIFIER, STATEN ISLAND
Makerparkradio.nyc
Creating a platform to teach empathy and understanding of our neighbors in Staten Island -- New York’s forgotten borough

By illuminating the lore and culture of Staten Island via a media hub and FM radio station, Kristin wants to increase appreciation for the many cultures and neighborhoods of NYC’s most outer borough.  She gives the tools and mic to Staten Islanders to amplify their special stories, culture, and artistic talents. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Kristin Wallace, founder of MakerPark Radio

Ken Lewis Ken Lewis
Ken Lewis
Ken Lewis
COOPERATOR, BROOKLYN
Drivers.coop
Building an ethical, driver-centered ride-hailing company to help 50,000 plus NYC rideshare drivers build economic stability and transform the for hire industry

Ken is a founder of The Driver’s Cooperative, which operates Coop-Ride, a new ride hailing taxi service. Coop-Ride is owned by the drivers who are involved in democratically running their Company.  Drivers pay just 15% on fares and profits will be shared among member-owners. Ken has spent most of his working life in New York City passenger transportation, including at signature programs as Access-A-Ride and EZPass.  Like many of his fellow immigrants, he started life in NY as a cab driver and drives to this day. Along the way, he has seen this once respected occupation — a pathway to the American Dream for countless immigrants — become decimated by exploitative ride-hailing giants. Coop-Ride, is not only an innovative ride-hailing service, but also a movement to transform drivers’ economic circumstances and restore dignity to New York’s driver community. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Ken Lewis, founder of The Drivers Cooperative

Jaime-Jin Lewis Jaime-Jin Lewis
Jaime-Jin Lewis
Jaime-Jin Lewis
INNOVATOR, BROOKLYN
Wiggleroomnow.com | Twitter.com/jaimejin
Fighting for a more durable and dynamic childcare system where providers, families, and children thrive

Jaime-Jin Lewis envisions a New York where every parent has access to affordable, quality childcare; every child is surrounded by a caring community; and the majority-woman-powered workforce of childcare providers enjoys dignified jobs with fair pay. She founded Wiggle Room to innovate solutions toward these goals. Jaime-Jin organized #WorkersNeedChildcare, a hotline to help essential workers navigate childcare during the pandemic, and #CareTogetherNYC, a mutual aid project to disburse cash assistance to essential workers with untenable childcare costs due to school and daycare closures. She is currently launching a new platform that connects two overlooked communities: parents who work fluctuating, hourly jobs and home-based childcare providers.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Jaime-Jin Lewis, founder of Wiggle Room, a platform to make childcare more accessible for NYC families

Hackett Hackett
Hackett
Hackett
INCITER, BROOKLYN
Learn more about Hackett's work in this New York Times article
Take trash. Add science. Produce clean fuel.

Using a unusual skillset, which includes dumpster diving, moonshining, and collaborative DIY, Hackett has developed a way to produce a clean, renewable gasoline replacement from bread — specifically the mountain of unsold and imperfect bread thrown away in NYC every day that contains volumes of potential energy in its concentrated carbs. His worker-owned co-op will intercept this waste and then ferment and distill it into renewable, low-emission ethanol fuel. Like the movement to transform used fry oil into biodiesel, this process represents a new pathway to sustainability and community ownership of a cleaner future.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Hackett, founder of a new cooperative that turns bakery waste into fuel

Gladys Jones Gladys Jones
Gladys Jones
Gladys Jones
CHAMPION FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS, STATEN ISLAND
Eceonthemove.com
Advocating for representation, fair pay, and benefits for thousands of family childcare professionals who provide essential services throughout NYC

Gladys is the co-founder of ECE on the Move, a group of more than 600 early childhood educators working in residential settings in New York City. Sometimes called “home-based childcare workers” or “family child care providers,” ECE on the Move uses the term “early childhood educators,” which more accurately reflects their many skills. Gladys and her co-founder, Doris Irizarry, spent years organizing providers, but eventually tired of the lack of respect and representation they saw in politics and policies affecting their industry. They formally established ECE on the Move in 2019 and have built a thriving community of early childhood educators mobilized for positive change.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Gladys Jones, co-founder of Early Childhood Educators on the Move

Gabrielle Prisco Gabrielle Prisco
Gabrielle Prisco
Gabrielle Prisco
CONNECTOR, BROOKLYN
Lineageproject.org
Building The Core Collective, an intentional community - both a physical space housing a “one-stop center” designed by and for young people, and a nonprofit collaborative offering co-working space, administrative support, and shared resources for a curated group of NYC-based nonprofits that work with young people

Creative connector and nonprofit leader Gabrielle Prisco has spent nearly twenty years working with young people—as an attorney, policy advocate, and Co-Executive Director of a nonprofit teaching trauma-sensitive mindfulness to young people inside NYC systems. Throughout, she’s seen young people—particularly Black and brown young people—systematically failed by our city, and “youth” nonprofits routinely stretched beyond capacity.  

 

Gabrielle’s vision partners young people and nonprofit leaders in The Core Collective: a holistic “one-stop” community center for young people and shared home for a curated group of smaller NYC “youth” nonprofits. When young people arrive, what they need will be there—from art, coding, and entrepreneurial support to legal and medical services. Simultaneously, resident nonprofits will benefit from daily proximity to youth and one another, and from shared space, fundraising, and administrative staff—freeing them to be more mission-focused. Ultimately, Gabrielle envisions a public-private partnership to secure a building for the center and income-generating rentals.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Gabrielle Prisco, Co-Executive Director of The Lineage Project

Felicia Wilson Felicia Wilson
Felicia Wilson
Felicia Wilson
MENTOR, BROOKLYN
Wauinc.org
Advocating for youth and young adults transitioning out of the NYC foster care system to receive the resources and supports needed to thrive through the lens of an alumna -- from financial literacy and housing, to mental healthcare and life skills training

Felicia has dedicated her life to supporting young people within and aging out of New York City’s foster care system. Raised in care from the age of four, Felicia knows the power of targeted, high quality services. Her new non-profit, What About Us, will provide mentoring, financial management training, job training and placement, and mental health support. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Felicia Wilson, founder of What About Us and advocate for youth in foster care

Fela Barclift Fela Barclift
Fela Barclift
Fela Barclift
JEGNA, BROOKLYN
Littlesunpeople.com
Partnering with parents and community to foster self-esteem and unassailably positive identity through an Afrocentric/Culturally Responsive curriculum built on 40 years of experience in early childhood education

NYC’s youngest residents deserve to be seen, heard and loved in their classrooms — particularly Black and Brown children who too often start at a disadvantage. For 40 years, Fela Barclift has led Little Sun People, an early childhood education center in Brooklyn with an Afrocentric/Culturally Responsive curriculum where children ages 2-5 can express themselves through African dance, drumming, music, martial arts, chess,  and play. Fela’s kids learn and grow by gardening, cooking, taking field trips (offsite, on campus, and virtually) and by supporting local Black-owned businesses.  It’s a community that joyfully celebrates, learns from, and is inspired by the countless contributions people of African descent have made to NYC and around the globe.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Fela Barclift, founder of Little Sun People, a childcare program with an African centered focus

Darnell Benoit Darnell Benoit
Darnell Benoit
Darnell Benoit
EDUCATOR, BROOKLYN
Flanbwayan.org
Using technology to help newcomer immigrant youth build relationships, encounter unexpected influences, and engage in educational activities outside school

After 14 years as a New York City ESL instructor and frustrated by the lack of resources for immigrant students, Darnell Benoit founded Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project in 2005. FHLC fights for change in the NYC Public School System so that newcomer youth can receive necessary support — neither defined nor limited by discrimination, isolation, or language barriers. The Immigrant Youth Project (IYLP) will use technology to build a safe citywide support network where young immigrants can build relationships, encounter unexpected influences, and engage in educational activities outside school walls. Using dance, art, music, filmmaking, podcasts, book clubs, and leadership development activities, the IYLP will create new pathways for recent newcomers to co-create community and wellbeing.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Darnell Benoit, founder of Flanbwayan and advocate for immigrant youth city-wide

Carmen Mojica Carmen Mojica
Carmen Mojica
Carmen Mojica
MIDWIFE, BRONX
Twitter.com/parteranegra
Highlighting the interplay of maternal health and community in the Bronx with a bilingual program emphasizing childbirth education, reproductive literacy, and lifelong sexual health

Carmen is a fierce advocate for reproductive health and justice, specifically to improve care for women of color — especially for Black women who are twelve times more likely to die in childbirth than white women in New York City — and increase young people’s access to sexual education. Because care is rooted in community, Carmen frames the maternal health conversation as a responsibility for all New Yorkers.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Carmen Mojica, a midwife and advocate for reproductive health and justice

Caridad De La Luz Caridad De La Luz
Caridad De La Luz
Caridad De La Luz
POET, BRONX
Instagram.com/labrujaNYC
Using the power of spoken word and indigenous practices to uplift, unify, and heal diasporic Puerto Rican, LGBTQ and BIPOC at “El Garaje” - a 1920s trucking garage in the Bronx that doubles as an art and wellness cultivation center

Caridad is a Bronx native, world-renowned spoken word artist known as “La Bruja,” who transformed a 100-year old garage behind her home into a cultural, art, and spiritual center. She envisions El Garaje as a site for creative residencies, learning and projection projects, and a sanctuary space for indigenous artists, activists, and practitioners. After opening its doors in 2016, she learned that it is built on what once was a Siwanoy village called Snakapins. Ultimately, the vision is for El Garaje to become a historic site and beacon from which a new village can emerge in the Soundview section of The Bronx.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Caridad de la Luz, also known as La Bruja, founder of a community art space in Soundview, Bronx called El Garaje

Cesar Vargas Cesar Vargas
Cesar Vargas
Cesar Vargas
DISRUPTOR, STATEN ISLAND
Read the latest on Cesar's work in this Gothamist article
Building a coalition to provide competent legal counsel to immigrants (and their families) serving in the Armed Forces as they navigate immigration and military law

More than half a million US veterans were born outside the United States, and nearly two million are US-born children of immigrants. Cesar Vargas was born in Mexico, grew up undocumented in the US, and went on to serve in the armed forces. Now the first undocumented lawyer in the country focuses on this nexus — working to ensure fair and accessible immigration services for active service members and veterans vulnerable to deportation.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Cesar Vargas, an advocate for immigrants serving in the military

Ana Maria Martinez de Luco Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
STREET SISTER, BROOKLYN
Instagram.com/ourhome_nyc
Developing a self-sustaining community of mobile homes for people in need, such as those experiencing homelessness, especially those who suffer from severe alcohol disorder

Ana Maria Martinez de Luco is a street nun who founded Sure We Can, a Brooklyn non-profit where people who survive by collecting cans and bottles come together with students and neighbors. Now Ana is launching Our Home, a project to build and support a community of tiny homes in New York City. Our Home is a lifeline for homeless individuals and others challenged by substance abuse and complex immigration profiles. Our Home residents thrive and regain control of their lives, thanks to the web of services and community supports provided. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Ana Maria Martinez de Luco, founder of Sure We Can and co-creator of Our Home

Robert Gore Robert Gore
Robert Gore
Robert Gore
DOCTOR, BROOKLYN
Kavibrooklyn.org | Instagram.com/siriema22
BRINGING TRAUMA-INFORMED METHODOLOGIES TO FRONTLINE CARE IN ORDER TO IMPROVE OUTCOMES FOR ALL NEW YORKERS

Robert Gore is an emergency physician and founder of the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI). Drawing from 7+ years of experience, Robert hopes to reach all NYC frontline workers — police officers, healthcare workers, educators, firefighters — with a new virtual training program in holistic care and trauma-informed response. Robert envisions a New York where providers and recipients of care have the tools to transform trauma, leading to better physical and mental health outcomes.

Suzette Brown Suzette Brown
Suzette Brown
Suzette Brown
DOCTOR, QUEENS
Strongchildrenwellness.com
INTEGRATING BEST-IN-CLASS PEDIATRIC CARE WITHIN TRUSTED SOCIAL SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS AND ALIGNING PAYMENTS TO HEALTH OUTCOMES

Suzette is a pediatrician seeking to transform the way healthcare is delivered in NYC’s marginalized communities by using a ‘reverse integration’ model of care. After working with a single mom of seven who had become homeless after fleeing domestic violence, Suzette was inspired to collaborate within the fragmented social service / mental health system to more holistically support families. The Strong Children Wellness model embeds pediatric clinics within existing community-based social service and mental health organizations so that a comprehensive team — not just doctors — can fully address the needs of children and families. Strong Children Wellness plans to pilot a value-based payment system for pediatric care that is tied to improved health and well-being outcomes.

Father Michael Lopez Father Michael Lopez
Father Michael Lopez
Father Michael Lopez
CATHOLIC PRIEST, QUEENS
Monkworx.org
BUILDING A FAITH-BASED BLUEPRINT TO ADDRESS FOOD INSECURITY AND PROVIDE TEMPORARY SHELTER

Father Michael Lopez is a Catholic priest and the creator of Hungry Monks, a mobile food pantry based in Ridgewood that exponentially increased service during the coronavirus pandemic. (If you’d asked 8-year-old Mike what kind of priest he would want to be, his answer probably would have been simply “a good one.”) Michael has transformed his church basement into a shelter — using a monastery model — and is creating a roadmap for other faith-based institutions to follow suit.

Laundromat Owner and Visionary Laundromat Owner and Visionary
Laundromat Owner and Visionary
Laundromat Owner and Visionary
ENTREPRENEUR, BROOKLYN
UTILIZING A LOCAL LAUNDROMAT AS A HUB FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
This Brooklynite is using her laundromat business to empower domestic violence victims, offering free wash-and-folds, clothing drives, and job training. Her initiative creates a roadmap for transforming other everyday New York storefronts into incubators of social change.
 
Kit Yan Kit Yan
Kit Yan
Kit Yan
STORYTELLER, CITYWIDE
Interstatemusical.com
TRANSFORMING THE STAGES OF NEW YORK TO SHARE STORIES FROM TRANSGENDER AND QUEER PEOPLE OF COLOR (LGBTQ POC)

Kit Yan and Melissa Li want to bring vibrant nontraditional voices to Broadway with their musical Interstate, a coming-of-age story about Queer and Trans Asian-American experiences. The musical, developed in NYC over 8 years, opened in Minneapolis to packed audiences and rave reviews. This underdog show wants to return home to New York and open on Broadway, empowering an important community of New Yorkers who deserve to be seen and heard.

Edafe Okporo Edafe Okporo
Edafe Okporo
Edafe Okporo
ACTIVIST, MANHATTAN
Rdjrefugeeshelter.org
BRINGING HUMANITY TO HOMELESSNESS IN A SHELTER THAT PRIORITIZES COMMUNITY AND HEALING FOR REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS

Edafe is striving to end street homelessness through partnerships with faith institutions and with targeted advocacy. The RDJ Refugee Shelter is more than a shelter; it’s a space where asylum-seekers and immigrants can access community and start to rebuild their lives. There are currently 83,000 people looking for housing in NYC, and Edafe’s mission is to ensure every New Yorker can transition with dignity to safe housing.

Cielo Villa Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
ENTREPRENEUR, QUEENS
Instagram.com/road_to_uni | Facebook.com/roadtouni
REDEFINING COLLEGE GUIDANCE FOR YOUNG NEW YORKERS WHO ARE FIRST GENERATION, UNDOCUMENTED, AND / OR LACK CRITICAL RESOURCES

Cielo wants to ensure all marginalized NYC students can realize their college dreams — not just a lucky few with top test scores or leadership roles. Cielo is building an online resource called Road to Uni that will act as a supercharged, hyper-accessible college advisor, open to all and offering a gamified roadmap with quick informational videos, live support, and actionable resources to navigate the overwhelming college admissions process.

Maria Guadalupe Martinez Maria Guadalupe Martinez
Maria Guadalupe Martinez
Maria Guadalupe Martinez
EDUCATOR, MANHATTAN
Creany.org
EMPOWERING IMMIGRANT PARENTS TO WORK TOWARDS THEIR AMERICAN DREAMS AND SUPPORT THEIR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT

While serving as a PTA member at her children’s school, Maria developed a plan to help immigrant women gain access to education in the USA. This vision became Centro de Recursos Educativos para Adultos (CREA), a space in East Harlem offering adult literacy and education to parents across the five boroughs. The program currently serves 170+ people. More than an education platform, CREA equips parents with skills to become active participants in and advocates for their children’s growth.

Nelson Luna Nelson Luna
Nelson Luna
Nelson Luna
ACTIVIST, BRONX
Teenstakecharge.com
USING MEDIA AND STUDENT ORGANIZING TO PUSH NEW YORK TOWARD A MORE INTEGRATED, EQUITABLE EDUCATION FUTURE
Nelson is a product of New York City’s public school system who now attends Columbia University. At 16, Nelson, along with fellow students, launched Teens Take Charge, a student activist group. His plan is to push New York to become a leader in providing integrated, equitable, quality education to every student — regardless of their status or zip code.
Sutton King Sutton King
Sutton King
Sutton King
ADVOCATE, CITYWIDE
Urbanindigenouscollective.org | Learn more here
INDIGENIZING EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURES AND ENSURING CULTURAL HUMILITY IN HEALTH AND WELLNESS SERVICES
More than 100K Native Americans live in New York City — making this the largest population of Urban Natives in the United States. Sutton founded the Urban Indigenous Collective to bring together and elevate the Indigenous population, create better access to health services, and build community.  
Yin Kong Yin Kong
Yin Kong
Yin Kong
URBANIST, MANHATTAN
Thinkchinatown.org
BUILDING GENERATIONAL COMMUNITY IN CHINATOWN THROUGH CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, STORYTELLING AND THE ARTS

Yin believes Chinatown’s survival depends on the community’s ability to advocate for equal access to resources. Together with an intergenerational group of volunteers, she built Think!Chinatown, a non-profit focusing on neighborhood engagement fostered by storytelling and the arts. Through projects like Chinatown Arts Week, The Art of Storytelling, & Everyday Chinatown, T!C honors, explores, and presents the culture and history of the community that have long made NYC’s Chinatown a vibrant immigrant neighborhood. Guided by an older generation of Chinatown organizers, Yin directs community actions to address neighborhood issues. Yin dreams of hosting kitchen classes, artists residencies, art exhibits, & community workshops in a permanent space for and in Chinatown.

Su Sanni Su Sanni
Su Sanni
Su Sanni
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Dollaride.com
RE-IMAGINING TRANSIT DESERTS AND EASING COMMUTES BY IMPROVING ACCESS TO DOLLAR VAN DRIVERS

Su is transforming urban transit for the many New Yorkers without access to the city’s public transportation system. Dollaride eases the connection between riders and vans-for-hire with transparent routes, consistent schedules, and mobile payments. Su hopes to connect the extensive dollar van network to existing public infrastructure and expand their territory to improve economic mobility.

Stefan Henry Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Levelthecurve.com
MAKING NEW YORK CITY MORE ACCESSIBLE WITH USER-FRIENDLY, BEAUTIFUL TOOLS TO AID PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Stefan is a user-centric designer who wants to make it easier for people with disabilities to thrive in New York City. Stefan and his team have developed tools that make a variety of daily tasks more accessible, like an easy- to-deploy lightweight wheelchair ramp; a multipurpose eating utensil; and an arm-support to help users play video games. His vision is simple: achieve accessibility and independence for people with disabilities by re-imagining everyday devices.

Rasmia Kirmani-Frye Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
CONNECTOR, CITY-WIDE
Twitter.com/rasmiakf | Instagram.com/rasmiak
BUILDING TRUST TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING IN NEW YORK CITY BY CENTERING RESIDENTS AND CREATING, SOMETIMES, UNLIKELY PARTNERSHIPS

One in 15 New Yorkers lives in public housing — many of them the public servants who keep New York City safe and vibrant. But too often this huge and critical system is overlooked or given up as an intractable problem. Rasmia wants to reinvent our public housing system by building networks from generative, community-centered relationships to embrace “truth and reconciliation,” and develop real action plans to change the system. 

Manuel Castro Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
ORGANIZER, QUEENS
Nynice.org | Página en español
LEADING AN INNOVATIVE HUB OF WORKER CENTERS WHERE UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS CAN ACCESS SAFE AND FAIR PAYING JOBS

Manuel’s journey across the Mexico-US border at the age of five with his mother sparked a passion for helping others envision and find opportunity. As an early DREAMer – a movement of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children – Manuel now leads New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a grassroots organization that provides NYC’s day laborers and new immigrants with support services and leadership development programs. Manuel wants to test new ways of organizing this critical and essential workforce citywide around cooperative work and social and economic justice.

Chino Hardin Chino Hardin
Chino Hardin
Chino Hardin
ORGANIZER, BROOKLYN
Nuleadership.org | Bklynboihood.com
DISRUPTING THE CYCLE OF MASS INCARCERATION AND INEQUITY BY CONNECTING THOSE IMPACTED TO NATURE AND INDIGENOUS & BLACK HEALING PRACTICES

Chino’s lived experience as a formerly incarcerated, Black and Indiginous Trans person provides deep inspiration for NuLegacy, a program designed to support Black, Indigenous, Queer & Trans New Yorkers whose lives have been devastated by prison involvement.  His radical idea?  To use ancestral healing practices and connect folks — sometimes for the first time — to nature.  For the last 20 years, Chino has taught youth and families in Bedstuy that stewardship of land and community can lead to healing and transformation.

Somia Elrowmeim Somia Elrowmeim
Somia Elrowmeim
Somia Elrowmeim
ORGANIZER, BROOKLYN
Facebook.com/OfficialUAWNYC
BUILDING A COOPERATIVE FOR ARAB AMERICAN WOMEN THAT'S HALF BAKERY AND HALF AN EDUCATION, SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT ENGINE

Somia is a community organizer, educator, and advocate. Somia’s passion for empowering women and fighting for human rights began when she was a student leader at Sana’a University in Yemen, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mathematics. Since moving to New York City, Somia has led Arab women in south Brooklyn. Somia is launching a bakery that will double as an economic empowerment vehicle for Arab American women in their community. Structured as a cooperative, Somia’s social enterprise can become a blueprint for other affinity groups and neighborhoods that aspire to amplify their members’ talents to build economic assets.

Antya Waegemann Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
DESIGNER, CITYWIDE
Redesignthekit.com
IMPROVING THE EXPERIENCE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS BY REDESIGNING THE EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS USED IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM AND BEYOND
Antya is a designer and advocate working at the intersection of survivors and health professionals in the aftermath of sexual assault.  In collaboration with co-founder Lona Vincent and an amazing community of non-profits, social workers, medical professionals, political leaders, and legal experts, Antya is working on an integrated resource – a redesigned sexual assault evidence kit and a digital app. For survivors, this project aims to improve accessibility, transparency and the experience of finding and getting kits. For healthcare providers, it will make it easier to administer kits, allowing them to provide better, trauma-informed care to patients in and out of the emergency room.
 
Marco Saavedra Marco Saavedra
Marco Saavedra
Marco Saavedra
BRIDGE BUILDER, BRONX
Lamoradanyc.com
CREATING A SANCTUARY FOR IMMIGRANTS OUT OF HIS FAMILY'S RESTAURANT IN THE SOUTH BRONX

Marco is a member of the Dream 9. Now he’s organizing in the South Bronx to benefit other immigrants, using his family’s restaurant La Morada as base camp for a community response team and gatherings to share knowledge and tools to fight ICE raids. The restaurant has become a true sanctuary space where undocumented people, families and allies can share, learn and eat. 

Deborah Navarro Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
TECHNOLOGIST, CITYWIDE
Lightly.me | View tech in action
CREATING EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE TRANSIT SOLUTIONS FOR NYC USING AIR LEVITATION TECHNOLOGY

Deborah is a leader in air-levitation technology designed to autonomously move goods and people from one point to the next. (Cred: she won Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition after being told she didn’t qualify). Deborah is taking this technology to the streets to reimagine the way New Yorkers move through the city — safely, quickly, and with low carbon emissions. She aims to create a community driven transportation revolution that empowers New Yorkers to be a part of the conversation and design.

Akili Hinson Akili Hinson
Akili Hinson
Akili Hinson
DOCTOR, MANHATTAN
Juno.care
BUILDING A ONE-STOP SOLUTION OFFERING EVERYDAY FAMILY HEALTHCARE FOR THE 99%

Akili is building the new healthcare home New York City’s families. Juno Medical is a one-stop solution for you and your family’s everyday care needs that features exceptional hospitality, modern technology, and transparent prices that won’t break the bank. Akili and his team believe that great care is for everyone, so he’s set out to build a premier consumer healthcare brand that’s designed for the 99%.   

Domingo Morales Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
COMPOST GURU, CITYWIDE
Instagram.com/CompostPower
REUSING NEW YORK CITY'S ORGANIC WASTE AND MAKING IT COOL TO COMPOST

One third of NYC’s trash is organic — but too often this useful waste gets wasted. Domingo is working to solve this problem and grow plants for New York’s tomorrow. And after managing Red Hook Farms’s composting operation, he’s an expert in food chemistry, safe and healthy composting habits, and teaching others to make it happen. Domingo is developing a ‘how to’ compost guide and launching a new podcast called Compost Power to share expertise in support of composting processes around the city. 

Yin Q Yin Q
Yin Q
Yin Q
CREATRIX, CITY-WIDE
Bodyofworkers.com | Yinq.net
Developing Body of Workers, a platform for sharing art, stories, and media by and for artists and content makers in the sex industries

Yin Q creates spaces and platforms to advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers through art, storytelling, and celebration. She is the founder of Kink Out and is a core member of Red Canary Song and AAPI grassroots collective that organizes migrant massage and sex workers and connects them to medical, legal, and mutual aid. Yin’s new idea — Body of Workers — will be an online ‘backstage’ for sex workers to create, share, and build community.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Yin Q, an advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers

Mr. Five Mualimm-ak Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
ORGANIZER, MANHATTAN & BRONX
Incarceratednationnetwork.org
Bridging the gap of services for justice impacted young adults serving multi-year community supervision sentences within NYC, YAPP trains, mentors, employs, and houses NYC’s future

Five is a long-time advocate within the criminal justice space who has authored policies to reduce solitary confinement, founded Incarcerated Nation, and spent decades collaborating with anti-prison organizations in New York and across the country. Now he is launching the Youth Anti Prison Project, recognizing severe gaps in the system of long-term community supervision and support for youth coming home from prison. The project mentors, trains, houses and employs justice-impacted young adults through a variety of academies that last throughout their community supervision sentences, using expert trauma-informed care to give these often forgotten youth a real second chance.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Five Mualimm-ak, founder of Incarcerated Nation

Ken Lewis Ken Lewis
Ken Lewis
Ken Lewis
COOPERATOR, BROOKLYN
Drivers.coop
Building an ethical, driver-centered ride-hailing company to help 50,000 plus NYC rideshare drivers build economic stability and transform the for hire industry

Ken is a founder of The Driver’s Cooperative, which operates Coop-Ride, a new ride hailing taxi service. Coop-Ride is owned by the drivers who are involved in democratically running their Company.  Drivers pay just 15% on fares and profits will be shared among member-owners. Ken has spent most of his working life in New York City passenger transportation, including at signature programs as Access-A-Ride and EZPass.  Like many of his fellow immigrants, he started life in NY as a cab driver and drives to this day. Along the way, he has seen this once respected occupation — a pathway to the American Dream for countless immigrants — become decimated by exploitative ride-hailing giants. Coop-Ride, is not only an innovative ride-hailing service, but also a movement to transform drivers’ economic circumstances and restore dignity to New York’s driver community. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Ken Lewis, founder of The Drivers Cooperative

Carmen Mojica Carmen Mojica
Carmen Mojica
Carmen Mojica
MIDWIFE, BRONX
Twitter.com/parteranegra
Highlighting the interplay of maternal health and community in the Bronx with a bilingual program emphasizing childbirth education, reproductive literacy, and lifelong sexual health

Carmen is a fierce advocate for reproductive health and justice, specifically to improve care for women of color — especially for Black women who are twelve times more likely to die in childbirth than white women in New York City — and increase young people’s access to sexual education. Because care is rooted in community, Carmen frames the maternal health conversation as a responsibility for all New Yorkers.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Carmen Mojica, a midwife and advocate for reproductive health and justice

Caridad De La Luz Caridad De La Luz
Caridad De La Luz
Caridad De La Luz
POET, BRONX
Instagram.com/labrujaNYC
Using the power of spoken word and indigenous practices to uplift, unify, and heal diasporic Puerto Rican, LGBTQ and BIPOC at “El Garaje” - a 1920s trucking garage in the Bronx that doubles as an art and wellness cultivation center

Caridad is a Bronx native, world-renowned spoken word artist known as “La Bruja,” who transformed a 100-year old garage behind her home into a cultural, art, and spiritual center. She envisions El Garaje as a site for creative residencies, learning and projection projects, and a sanctuary space for indigenous artists, activists, and practitioners. After opening its doors in 2016, she learned that it is built on what once was a Siwanoy village called Snakapins. Ultimately, the vision is for El Garaje to become a historic site and beacon from which a new village can emerge in the Soundview section of The Bronx.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Caridad de la Luz, also known as La Bruja, founder of a community art space in Soundview, Bronx called El Garaje

Kit Yan Kit Yan
Kit Yan
Kit Yan
STORYTELLER, CITYWIDE
Interstatemusical.com
TRANSFORMING THE STAGES OF NEW YORK TO SHARE STORIES FROM TRANSGENDER AND QUEER PEOPLE OF COLOR (LGBTQ POC)

Kit Yan and Melissa Li want to bring vibrant nontraditional voices to Broadway with their musical Interstate, a coming-of-age story about Queer and Trans Asian-American experiences. The musical, developed in NYC over 8 years, opened in Minneapolis to packed audiences and rave reviews. This underdog show wants to return home to New York and open on Broadway, empowering an important community of New Yorkers who deserve to be seen and heard.

Cielo Villa Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
ENTREPRENEUR, QUEENS
Instagram.com/road_to_uni | Facebook.com/roadtouni
REDEFINING COLLEGE GUIDANCE FOR YOUNG NEW YORKERS WHO ARE FIRST GENERATION, UNDOCUMENTED, AND / OR LACK CRITICAL RESOURCES

Cielo wants to ensure all marginalized NYC students can realize their college dreams — not just a lucky few with top test scores or leadership roles. Cielo is building an online resource called Road to Uni that will act as a supercharged, hyper-accessible college advisor, open to all and offering a gamified roadmap with quick informational videos, live support, and actionable resources to navigate the overwhelming college admissions process.

Nelson Luna Nelson Luna
Nelson Luna
Nelson Luna
ACTIVIST, BRONX
Teenstakecharge.com
USING MEDIA AND STUDENT ORGANIZING TO PUSH NEW YORK TOWARD A MORE INTEGRATED, EQUITABLE EDUCATION FUTURE
Nelson is a product of New York City’s public school system who now attends Columbia University. At 16, Nelson, along with fellow students, launched Teens Take Charge, a student activist group. His plan is to push New York to become a leader in providing integrated, equitable, quality education to every student — regardless of their status or zip code.
Sutton King Sutton King
Sutton King
Sutton King
ADVOCATE, CITYWIDE
Urbanindigenouscollective.org | Learn more here
INDIGENIZING EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURES AND ENSURING CULTURAL HUMILITY IN HEALTH AND WELLNESS SERVICES
More than 100K Native Americans live in New York City — making this the largest population of Urban Natives in the United States. Sutton founded the Urban Indigenous Collective to bring together and elevate the Indigenous population, create better access to health services, and build community.  
Su Sanni Su Sanni
Su Sanni
Su Sanni
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Dollaride.com
RE-IMAGINING TRANSIT DESERTS AND EASING COMMUTES BY IMPROVING ACCESS TO DOLLAR VAN DRIVERS

Su is transforming urban transit for the many New Yorkers without access to the city’s public transportation system. Dollaride eases the connection between riders and vans-for-hire with transparent routes, consistent schedules, and mobile payments. Su hopes to connect the extensive dollar van network to existing public infrastructure and expand their territory to improve economic mobility.

Stefan Henry Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Levelthecurve.com
MAKING NEW YORK CITY MORE ACCESSIBLE WITH USER-FRIENDLY, BEAUTIFUL TOOLS TO AID PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Stefan is a user-centric designer who wants to make it easier for people with disabilities to thrive in New York City. Stefan and his team have developed tools that make a variety of daily tasks more accessible, like an easy- to-deploy lightweight wheelchair ramp; a multipurpose eating utensil; and an arm-support to help users play video games. His vision is simple: achieve accessibility and independence for people with disabilities by re-imagining everyday devices.

Rasmia Kirmani-Frye Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
CONNECTOR, CITY-WIDE
Twitter.com/rasmiakf | Instagram.com/rasmiak
BUILDING TRUST TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING IN NEW YORK CITY BY CENTERING RESIDENTS AND CREATING, SOMETIMES, UNLIKELY PARTNERSHIPS

One in 15 New Yorkers lives in public housing — many of them the public servants who keep New York City safe and vibrant. But too often this huge and critical system is overlooked or given up as an intractable problem. Rasmia wants to reinvent our public housing system by building networks from generative, community-centered relationships to embrace “truth and reconciliation,” and develop real action plans to change the system. 

Manuel Castro Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
ORGANIZER, QUEENS
Nynice.org | Página en español
LEADING AN INNOVATIVE HUB OF WORKER CENTERS WHERE UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS CAN ACCESS SAFE AND FAIR PAYING JOBS

Manuel’s journey across the Mexico-US border at the age of five with his mother sparked a passion for helping others envision and find opportunity. As an early DREAMer – a movement of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children – Manuel now leads New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a grassroots organization that provides NYC’s day laborers and new immigrants with support services and leadership development programs. Manuel wants to test new ways of organizing this critical and essential workforce citywide around cooperative work and social and economic justice.

Antya Waegemann Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
DESIGNER, CITYWIDE
Redesignthekit.com
IMPROVING THE EXPERIENCE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS BY REDESIGNING THE EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS USED IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM AND BEYOND
Antya is a designer and advocate working at the intersection of survivors and health professionals in the aftermath of sexual assault.  In collaboration with co-founder Lona Vincent and an amazing community of non-profits, social workers, medical professionals, political leaders, and legal experts, Antya is working on an integrated resource – a redesigned sexual assault evidence kit and a digital app. For survivors, this project aims to improve accessibility, transparency and the experience of finding and getting kits. For healthcare providers, it will make it easier to administer kits, allowing them to provide better, trauma-informed care to patients in and out of the emergency room.
 
Marco Saavedra Marco Saavedra
Marco Saavedra
Marco Saavedra
BRIDGE BUILDER, BRONX
Lamoradanyc.com
CREATING A SANCTUARY FOR IMMIGRANTS OUT OF HIS FAMILY'S RESTAURANT IN THE SOUTH BRONX

Marco is a member of the Dream 9. Now he’s organizing in the South Bronx to benefit other immigrants, using his family’s restaurant La Morada as base camp for a community response team and gatherings to share knowledge and tools to fight ICE raids. The restaurant has become a true sanctuary space where undocumented people, families and allies can share, learn and eat. 

Deborah Navarro Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
TECHNOLOGIST, CITYWIDE
Lightly.me | View tech in action
CREATING EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE TRANSIT SOLUTIONS FOR NYC USING AIR LEVITATION TECHNOLOGY

Deborah is a leader in air-levitation technology designed to autonomously move goods and people from one point to the next. (Cred: she won Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition after being told she didn’t qualify). Deborah is taking this technology to the streets to reimagine the way New Yorkers move through the city — safely, quickly, and with low carbon emissions. She aims to create a community driven transportation revolution that empowers New Yorkers to be a part of the conversation and design.

Domingo Morales Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
COMPOST GURU, CITYWIDE
Instagram.com/CompostPower
REUSING NEW YORK CITY'S ORGANIC WASTE AND MAKING IT COOL TO COMPOST

One third of NYC’s trash is organic — but too often this useful waste gets wasted. Domingo is working to solve this problem and grow plants for New York’s tomorrow. And after managing Red Hook Farms’s composting operation, he’s an expert in food chemistry, safe and healthy composting habits, and teaching others to make it happen. Domingo is developing a ‘how to’ compost guide and launching a new podcast called Compost Power to share expertise in support of composting processes around the city. 

Yin Q Yin Q
Yin Q
Yin Q
CREATRIX, CITY-WIDE
Bodyofworkers.com | Yinq.net
Developing Body of Workers, a platform for sharing art, stories, and media by and for artists and content makers in the sex industries

Yin Q creates spaces and platforms to advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers through art, storytelling, and celebration. She is the founder of Kink Out and is a core member of Red Canary Song and AAPI grassroots collective that organizes migrant massage and sex workers and connects them to medical, legal, and mutual aid. Yin’s new idea — Body of Workers — will be an online ‘backstage’ for sex workers to create, share, and build community.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Yin Q, an advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers

Troy Walcott Troy Walcott
Troy Walcott
Troy Walcott
STRIKER, BROOKLYN
Peopleschoice.coop
Striking Spectrum workers launching a cooperative to build community-owned broadband networks that bridge the digital divide for 2.2 million low-income New Yorkers

Troy, a long-time Spectrum worker, led a strike when the company erased employee benefits after its purchase by Time Warner. Today, he’s organizing that same coalition to build a new kind of high speed internet service provider — one that serves low income communities and leverages state-of-the-art technology to minimize costly hardline construction. He envisions including the community in  network ownership, giving marginalized neighborhoods control and increased economic independence.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Troy Walcott, founder of People’s Choice Internet

Ravi Ragbir Ravi Ragbir
Ravi Ragbir
Ravi Ragbir
CATALYST, BROOKLYN
Istandwithravi.org
Re-imagining freedom for people of color and immigrants targeted by unjust criminal and immigration systems by using the defense committee model to expand the idea of Sanctuary beyond physical space

Since his release from ICE custody, Ravi has worked tirelessly to stop deportations and expose a system confusing even to experts in the field of immigration rights. While leading protests and participating in vigils and civil disobedience around 26 Federal Plaza — ICE’s HQ — Ravi envisioned a plan to partner non-citizens with citizens who accompany them during immigration proceedings. In parallel, he built a legal clinic for those without representation. Ravi’s extensive network now includes committed citizens who rally, garner media attention, and re-imagine ‘protection’ for those at risk of deportation, educating the public and helping to keep thousands of people in the US.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of activist Ravi Ragbir

Michael Angelo Roberson Michael Angelo Roberson
Michael Angelo Roberson
Michael Angelo Roberson
THEOLOGIAN, BROOKLYN
Watch Michael's Ted Talk to learn more about his work
Uplifting the House Ball scene as a beloved community of Black/Latinx LGBT folks through radical education, chosen family, and public health advocacy

Michael believes that ballroom can speak profound truths about humanity and struggle. The Freedom School, named after the late great Ballroom Icon, Arbert Santana, strives to be a beloved community in the old sense — not an ordinary brick and mortar institution, but a forum to channel events, literature and pedagogy, leadership, mentorship, and identity for NYC’s Black / Latinx / LGBT ballroom family.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Michael Angelo Roberson, an advocate working towards the invigoration of the House Ball scene

Liz Jackson Liz Jackson
Liz Jackson
Liz Jackson
TROUBLEMAKER, BROOKLYN
Linktr.ee/eejackson
Redesigning the diagnostic process for chronic, invisible illnesses, by centering the knowledge of ill people and communities

Medical diagnoses are seen as final answers, deduced by all-knowing medical professionals who translate symptoms into objective clinical signs and accredited illnesses. Within this framework there is little room for chronically, invisibly ill patients whose symptoms do not readily translate into those signs. Their desire to be diagnosed is often regarded with suspicion and equated with a desire to be sick. But for many chronically ill people, including Liz, diagnosis means gaining access to the language of their body, learning how to recognize and respond to its needs, and work with it rather than constantly fighting against it. For this reason, Liz wants to compile, analyze and map the nuanced body-languages of chronically ill New Yorkers, and use them to create tools that not only support undiagnosed people to recognize and understand events within their own bodies, but also change the way we think about diagnosis itself.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Liz Jackson, founding member of The Disabled List

Ken Lewis Ken Lewis
Ken Lewis
Ken Lewis
COOPERATOR, BROOKLYN
Drivers.coop
Building an ethical, driver-centered ride-hailing company to help 50,000 plus NYC rideshare drivers build economic stability and transform the for hire industry

Ken is a founder of The Driver’s Cooperative, which operates Coop-Ride, a new ride hailing taxi service. Coop-Ride is owned by the drivers who are involved in democratically running their Company.  Drivers pay just 15% on fares and profits will be shared among member-owners. Ken has spent most of his working life in New York City passenger transportation, including at signature programs as Access-A-Ride and EZPass.  Like many of his fellow immigrants, he started life in NY as a cab driver and drives to this day. Along the way, he has seen this once respected occupation — a pathway to the American Dream for countless immigrants — become decimated by exploitative ride-hailing giants. Coop-Ride, is not only an innovative ride-hailing service, but also a movement to transform drivers’ economic circumstances and restore dignity to New York’s driver community. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Ken Lewis, founder of The Drivers Cooperative

Jaime-Jin Lewis Jaime-Jin Lewis
Jaime-Jin Lewis
Jaime-Jin Lewis
INNOVATOR, BROOKLYN
Wiggleroomnow.com | Twitter.com/jaimejin
Fighting for a more durable and dynamic childcare system where providers, families, and children thrive

Jaime-Jin Lewis envisions a New York where every parent has access to affordable, quality childcare; every child is surrounded by a caring community; and the majority-woman-powered workforce of childcare providers enjoys dignified jobs with fair pay. She founded Wiggle Room to innovate solutions toward these goals. Jaime-Jin organized #WorkersNeedChildcare, a hotline to help essential workers navigate childcare during the pandemic, and #CareTogetherNYC, a mutual aid project to disburse cash assistance to essential workers with untenable childcare costs due to school and daycare closures. She is currently launching a new platform that connects two overlooked communities: parents who work fluctuating, hourly jobs and home-based childcare providers.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Jaime-Jin Lewis, founder of Wiggle Room, a platform to make childcare more accessible for NYC families

Hackett Hackett
Hackett
Hackett
INCITER, BROOKLYN
Learn more about Hackett's work in this New York Times article
Take trash. Add science. Produce clean fuel.

Using a unusual skillset, which includes dumpster diving, moonshining, and collaborative DIY, Hackett has developed a way to produce a clean, renewable gasoline replacement from bread — specifically the mountain of unsold and imperfect bread thrown away in NYC every day that contains volumes of potential energy in its concentrated carbs. His worker-owned co-op will intercept this waste and then ferment and distill it into renewable, low-emission ethanol fuel. Like the movement to transform used fry oil into biodiesel, this process represents a new pathway to sustainability and community ownership of a cleaner future.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Hackett, founder of a new cooperative that turns bakery waste into fuel

Gabrielle Prisco Gabrielle Prisco
Gabrielle Prisco
Gabrielle Prisco
CONNECTOR, BROOKLYN
Lineageproject.org
Building The Core Collective, an intentional community - both a physical space housing a “one-stop center” designed by and for young people, and a nonprofit collaborative offering co-working space, administrative support, and shared resources for a curated group of NYC-based nonprofits that work with young people

Creative connector and nonprofit leader Gabrielle Prisco has spent nearly twenty years working with young people—as an attorney, policy advocate, and Co-Executive Director of a nonprofit teaching trauma-sensitive mindfulness to young people inside NYC systems. Throughout, she’s seen young people—particularly Black and brown young people—systematically failed by our city, and “youth” nonprofits routinely stretched beyond capacity.  

 

Gabrielle’s vision partners young people and nonprofit leaders in The Core Collective: a holistic “one-stop” community center for young people and shared home for a curated group of smaller NYC “youth” nonprofits. When young people arrive, what they need will be there—from art, coding, and entrepreneurial support to legal and medical services. Simultaneously, resident nonprofits will benefit from daily proximity to youth and one another, and from shared space, fundraising, and administrative staff—freeing them to be more mission-focused. Ultimately, Gabrielle envisions a public-private partnership to secure a building for the center and income-generating rentals.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Gabrielle Prisco, Co-Executive Director of The Lineage Project

Felicia Wilson Felicia Wilson
Felicia Wilson
Felicia Wilson
MENTOR, BROOKLYN
Wauinc.org
Advocating for youth and young adults transitioning out of the NYC foster care system to receive the resources and supports needed to thrive through the lens of an alumna -- from financial literacy and housing, to mental healthcare and life skills training

Felicia has dedicated her life to supporting young people within and aging out of New York City’s foster care system. Raised in care from the age of four, Felicia knows the power of targeted, high quality services. Her new non-profit, What About Us, will provide mentoring, financial management training, job training and placement, and mental health support. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Felicia Wilson, founder of What About Us and advocate for youth in foster care

Fela Barclift Fela Barclift
Fela Barclift
Fela Barclift
JEGNA, BROOKLYN
Littlesunpeople.com
Partnering with parents and community to foster self-esteem and unassailably positive identity through an Afrocentric/Culturally Responsive curriculum built on 40 years of experience in early childhood education

NYC’s youngest residents deserve to be seen, heard and loved in their classrooms — particularly Black and Brown children who too often start at a disadvantage. For 40 years, Fela Barclift has led Little Sun People, an early childhood education center in Brooklyn with an Afrocentric/Culturally Responsive curriculum where children ages 2-5 can express themselves through African dance, drumming, music, martial arts, chess,  and play. Fela’s kids learn and grow by gardening, cooking, taking field trips (offsite, on campus, and virtually) and by supporting local Black-owned businesses.  It’s a community that joyfully celebrates, learns from, and is inspired by the countless contributions people of African descent have made to NYC and around the globe.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Fela Barclift, founder of Little Sun People, a childcare program with an African centered focus

Darnell Benoit Darnell Benoit
Darnell Benoit
Darnell Benoit
EDUCATOR, BROOKLYN
Flanbwayan.org
Using technology to help newcomer immigrant youth build relationships, encounter unexpected influences, and engage in educational activities outside school

After 14 years as a New York City ESL instructor and frustrated by the lack of resources for immigrant students, Darnell Benoit founded Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project in 2005. FHLC fights for change in the NYC Public School System so that newcomer youth can receive necessary support — neither defined nor limited by discrimination, isolation, or language barriers. The Immigrant Youth Project (IYLP) will use technology to build a safe citywide support network where young immigrants can build relationships, encounter unexpected influences, and engage in educational activities outside school walls. Using dance, art, music, filmmaking, podcasts, book clubs, and leadership development activities, the IYLP will create new pathways for recent newcomers to co-create community and wellbeing.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Darnell Benoit, founder of Flanbwayan and advocate for immigrant youth city-wide

Ana Maria Martinez de Luco Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
STREET SISTER, BROOKLYN
Instagram.com/ourhome_nyc
Developing a self-sustaining community of mobile homes for people in need, such as those experiencing homelessness, especially those who suffer from severe alcohol disorder

Ana Maria Martinez de Luco is a street nun who founded Sure We Can, a Brooklyn non-profit where people who survive by collecting cans and bottles come together with students and neighbors. Now Ana is launching Our Home, a project to build and support a community of tiny homes in New York City. Our Home is a lifeline for homeless individuals and others challenged by substance abuse and complex immigration profiles. Our Home residents thrive and regain control of their lives, thanks to the web of services and community supports provided. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Ana Maria Martinez de Luco, founder of Sure We Can and co-creator of Our Home

Robert Gore Robert Gore
Robert Gore
Robert Gore
DOCTOR, BROOKLYN
Kavibrooklyn.org | Instagram.com/siriema22
BRINGING TRAUMA-INFORMED METHODOLOGIES TO FRONTLINE CARE IN ORDER TO IMPROVE OUTCOMES FOR ALL NEW YORKERS

Robert Gore is an emergency physician and founder of the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI). Drawing from 7+ years of experience, Robert hopes to reach all NYC frontline workers — police officers, healthcare workers, educators, firefighters — with a new virtual training program in holistic care and trauma-informed response. Robert envisions a New York where providers and recipients of care have the tools to transform trauma, leading to better physical and mental health outcomes.

Suzette Brown Suzette Brown
Suzette Brown
Suzette Brown
DOCTOR, QUEENS
Strongchildrenwellness.com
INTEGRATING BEST-IN-CLASS PEDIATRIC CARE WITHIN TRUSTED SOCIAL SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS AND ALIGNING PAYMENTS TO HEALTH OUTCOMES

Suzette is a pediatrician seeking to transform the way healthcare is delivered in NYC’s marginalized communities by using a ‘reverse integration’ model of care. After working with a single mom of seven who had become homeless after fleeing domestic violence, Suzette was inspired to collaborate within the fragmented social service / mental health system to more holistically support families. The Strong Children Wellness model embeds pediatric clinics within existing community-based social service and mental health organizations so that a comprehensive team — not just doctors — can fully address the needs of children and families. Strong Children Wellness plans to pilot a value-based payment system for pediatric care that is tied to improved health and well-being outcomes.

Laundromat Owner and Visionary Laundromat Owner and Visionary
Laundromat Owner and Visionary
Laundromat Owner and Visionary
ENTREPRENEUR, BROOKLYN
UTILIZING A LOCAL LAUNDROMAT AS A HUB FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
This Brooklynite is using her laundromat business to empower domestic violence victims, offering free wash-and-folds, clothing drives, and job training. Her initiative creates a roadmap for transforming other everyday New York storefronts into incubators of social change.
 
Kit Yan Kit Yan
Kit Yan
Kit Yan
STORYTELLER, CITYWIDE
Interstatemusical.com
TRANSFORMING THE STAGES OF NEW YORK TO SHARE STORIES FROM TRANSGENDER AND QUEER PEOPLE OF COLOR (LGBTQ POC)

Kit Yan and Melissa Li want to bring vibrant nontraditional voices to Broadway with their musical Interstate, a coming-of-age story about Queer and Trans Asian-American experiences. The musical, developed in NYC over 8 years, opened in Minneapolis to packed audiences and rave reviews. This underdog show wants to return home to New York and open on Broadway, empowering an important community of New Yorkers who deserve to be seen and heard.

Cielo Villa Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
ENTREPRENEUR, QUEENS
Instagram.com/road_to_uni | Facebook.com/roadtouni
REDEFINING COLLEGE GUIDANCE FOR YOUNG NEW YORKERS WHO ARE FIRST GENERATION, UNDOCUMENTED, AND / OR LACK CRITICAL RESOURCES

Cielo wants to ensure all marginalized NYC students can realize their college dreams — not just a lucky few with top test scores or leadership roles. Cielo is building an online resource called Road to Uni that will act as a supercharged, hyper-accessible college advisor, open to all and offering a gamified roadmap with quick informational videos, live support, and actionable resources to navigate the overwhelming college admissions process.

Nelson Luna Nelson Luna
Nelson Luna
Nelson Luna
ACTIVIST, BRONX
Teenstakecharge.com
USING MEDIA AND STUDENT ORGANIZING TO PUSH NEW YORK TOWARD A MORE INTEGRATED, EQUITABLE EDUCATION FUTURE
Nelson is a product of New York City’s public school system who now attends Columbia University. At 16, Nelson, along with fellow students, launched Teens Take Charge, a student activist group. His plan is to push New York to become a leader in providing integrated, equitable, quality education to every student — regardless of their status or zip code.
Sutton King Sutton King
Sutton King
Sutton King
ADVOCATE, CITYWIDE
Urbanindigenouscollective.org | Learn more here
INDIGENIZING EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURES AND ENSURING CULTURAL HUMILITY IN HEALTH AND WELLNESS SERVICES
More than 100K Native Americans live in New York City — making this the largest population of Urban Natives in the United States. Sutton founded the Urban Indigenous Collective to bring together and elevate the Indigenous population, create better access to health services, and build community.  
Su Sanni Su Sanni
Su Sanni
Su Sanni
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Dollaride.com
RE-IMAGINING TRANSIT DESERTS AND EASING COMMUTES BY IMPROVING ACCESS TO DOLLAR VAN DRIVERS

Su is transforming urban transit for the many New Yorkers without access to the city’s public transportation system. Dollaride eases the connection between riders and vans-for-hire with transparent routes, consistent schedules, and mobile payments. Su hopes to connect the extensive dollar van network to existing public infrastructure and expand their territory to improve economic mobility.

Stefan Henry Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Levelthecurve.com
MAKING NEW YORK CITY MORE ACCESSIBLE WITH USER-FRIENDLY, BEAUTIFUL TOOLS TO AID PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Stefan is a user-centric designer who wants to make it easier for people with disabilities to thrive in New York City. Stefan and his team have developed tools that make a variety of daily tasks more accessible, like an easy- to-deploy lightweight wheelchair ramp; a multipurpose eating utensil; and an arm-support to help users play video games. His vision is simple: achieve accessibility and independence for people with disabilities by re-imagining everyday devices.

Rasmia Kirmani-Frye Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
CONNECTOR, CITY-WIDE
Twitter.com/rasmiakf | Instagram.com/rasmiak
BUILDING TRUST TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING IN NEW YORK CITY BY CENTERING RESIDENTS AND CREATING, SOMETIMES, UNLIKELY PARTNERSHIPS

One in 15 New Yorkers lives in public housing — many of them the public servants who keep New York City safe and vibrant. But too often this huge and critical system is overlooked or given up as an intractable problem. Rasmia wants to reinvent our public housing system by building networks from generative, community-centered relationships to embrace “truth and reconciliation,” and develop real action plans to change the system. 

Manuel Castro Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
ORGANIZER, QUEENS
Nynice.org | Página en español
LEADING AN INNOVATIVE HUB OF WORKER CENTERS WHERE UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS CAN ACCESS SAFE AND FAIR PAYING JOBS

Manuel’s journey across the Mexico-US border at the age of five with his mother sparked a passion for helping others envision and find opportunity. As an early DREAMer – a movement of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children – Manuel now leads New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a grassroots organization that provides NYC’s day laborers and new immigrants with support services and leadership development programs. Manuel wants to test new ways of organizing this critical and essential workforce citywide around cooperative work and social and economic justice.

Chino Hardin Chino Hardin
Chino Hardin
Chino Hardin
ORGANIZER, BROOKLYN
Nuleadership.org | Bklynboihood.com
DISRUPTING THE CYCLE OF MASS INCARCERATION AND INEQUITY BY CONNECTING THOSE IMPACTED TO NATURE AND INDIGENOUS & BLACK HEALING PRACTICES

Chino’s lived experience as a formerly incarcerated, Black and Indiginous Trans person provides deep inspiration for NuLegacy, a program designed to support Black, Indigenous, Queer & Trans New Yorkers whose lives have been devastated by prison involvement.  His radical idea?  To use ancestral healing practices and connect folks — sometimes for the first time — to nature.  For the last 20 years, Chino has taught youth and families in Bedstuy that stewardship of land and community can lead to healing and transformation.

Somia Elrowmeim Somia Elrowmeim
Somia Elrowmeim
Somia Elrowmeim
ORGANIZER, BROOKLYN
Facebook.com/OfficialUAWNYC
BUILDING A COOPERATIVE FOR ARAB AMERICAN WOMEN THAT'S HALF BAKERY AND HALF AN EDUCATION, SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT ENGINE

Somia is a community organizer, educator, and advocate. Somia’s passion for empowering women and fighting for human rights began when she was a student leader at Sana’a University in Yemen, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mathematics. Since moving to New York City, Somia has led Arab women in south Brooklyn. Somia is launching a bakery that will double as an economic empowerment vehicle for Arab American women in their community. Structured as a cooperative, Somia’s social enterprise can become a blueprint for other affinity groups and neighborhoods that aspire to amplify their members’ talents to build economic assets.

Antya Waegemann Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
DESIGNER, CITYWIDE
Redesignthekit.com
IMPROVING THE EXPERIENCE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS BY REDESIGNING THE EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS USED IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM AND BEYOND
Antya is a designer and advocate working at the intersection of survivors and health professionals in the aftermath of sexual assault.  In collaboration with co-founder Lona Vincent and an amazing community of non-profits, social workers, medical professionals, political leaders, and legal experts, Antya is working on an integrated resource – a redesigned sexual assault evidence kit and a digital app. For survivors, this project aims to improve accessibility, transparency and the experience of finding and getting kits. For healthcare providers, it will make it easier to administer kits, allowing them to provide better, trauma-informed care to patients in and out of the emergency room.
 
Deborah Navarro Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
TECHNOLOGIST, CITYWIDE
Lightly.me | View tech in action
CREATING EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE TRANSIT SOLUTIONS FOR NYC USING AIR LEVITATION TECHNOLOGY

Deborah is a leader in air-levitation technology designed to autonomously move goods and people from one point to the next. (Cred: she won Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition after being told she didn’t qualify). Deborah is taking this technology to the streets to reimagine the way New Yorkers move through the city — safely, quickly, and with low carbon emissions. She aims to create a community driven transportation revolution that empowers New Yorkers to be a part of the conversation and design.

Domingo Morales Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
COMPOST GURU, CITYWIDE
Instagram.com/CompostPower
REUSING NEW YORK CITY'S ORGANIC WASTE AND MAKING IT COOL TO COMPOST

One third of NYC’s trash is organic — but too often this useful waste gets wasted. Domingo is working to solve this problem and grow plants for New York’s tomorrow. And after managing Red Hook Farms’s composting operation, he’s an expert in food chemistry, safe and healthy composting habits, and teaching others to make it happen. Domingo is developing a ‘how to’ compost guide and launching a new podcast called Compost Power to share expertise in support of composting processes around the city. 

Yin Q Yin Q
Yin Q
Yin Q
CREATRIX, CITY-WIDE
Bodyofworkers.com | Yinq.net
Developing Body of Workers, a platform for sharing art, stories, and media by and for artists and content makers in the sex industries

Yin Q creates spaces and platforms to advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers through art, storytelling, and celebration. She is the founder of Kink Out and is a core member of Red Canary Song and AAPI grassroots collective that organizes migrant massage and sex workers and connects them to medical, legal, and mutual aid. Yin’s new idea — Body of Workers — will be an online ‘backstage’ for sex workers to create, share, and build community.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Yin Q, an advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers

Sharon Richardson Sharon Richardson
Sharon Richardson
Sharon Richardson
HEALER, MANHATTAN & QUEENS
Justsoulcatering.com | Reentryrocks.org
Dismantling barriers for formerly incarcerated survivors of domestic violence through creative arts, training, mentorship, and counseling

Sharon started Just Soul Catering in 2015, a small business that not only brings fantastic soul food to New York City, but also provides jobs, education, and advocacy to its formerly incarcerated woman identified and non binary participants . Just Soul Catering works in tandem with Re-Entry Rocks which offers a full array of services, from dance focused on healing to entrepreneurship preparation and incubation and from mentorship to training in food preparation and event set-up. Sharon and her team have created a close community dedicated to addressing the unique issues faced by survivors of both domestic violence and incarceration.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Sharon Richardson, founder of Just Soul Catering and Re-Entry Rocks

Shams DaBaron Shams DaBaron
Shams DaBaron
Shams DaBaron
ACTIVIST, MANHATTAN
Politico.com/MayoralHopefulsFaceQuestionsonHomelessness
Advocating for homeless New Yorkers by working with advocates, elected officials, shelter providers, non-profits, and policymakers to build more housing and knock out the roots of homelessness

Shams, dubbed ‘Da Homeless Hero,’ knows NYC’s homeless system from the inside, having experienced homelessness since the age of 10, even raising his son in the family shelter system toward graduation and a high school diploma. Shams has led the conversation regarding the Lucerne Hotel, designated a temporary shelter during the pandemic to public outcry. Whether brokering mayoral conversations or detailing the policies and services necessary to support vulnerable New Yorkers, Shams is a relentless advocate, speaking with those directly impacted, elected officials, faith leaders — anyone who will listen. He’s a bridge builder, a strong voice at the table, and the accountability watchdog the city didn’t know it needed.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Shams DaBaron, an advocate fighting for dignified housing for people experiencing houselessness

Mr. Five Mualimm-ak Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
ORGANIZER, MANHATTAN & BRONX
Incarceratednationnetwork.org
Bridging the gap of services for justice impacted young adults serving multi-year community supervision sentences within NYC, YAPP trains, mentors, employs, and houses NYC’s future

Five is a long-time advocate within the criminal justice space who has authored policies to reduce solitary confinement, founded Incarcerated Nation, and spent decades collaborating with anti-prison organizations in New York and across the country. Now he is launching the Youth Anti Prison Project, recognizing severe gaps in the system of long-term community supervision and support for youth coming home from prison. The project mentors, trains, houses and employs justice-impacted young adults through a variety of academies that last throughout their community supervision sentences, using expert trauma-informed care to give these often forgotten youth a real second chance.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Five Mualimm-ak, founder of Incarcerated Nation

Kit Yan Kit Yan
Kit Yan
Kit Yan
STORYTELLER, CITYWIDE
Interstatemusical.com
TRANSFORMING THE STAGES OF NEW YORK TO SHARE STORIES FROM TRANSGENDER AND QUEER PEOPLE OF COLOR (LGBTQ POC)

Kit Yan and Melissa Li want to bring vibrant nontraditional voices to Broadway with their musical Interstate, a coming-of-age story about Queer and Trans Asian-American experiences. The musical, developed in NYC over 8 years, opened in Minneapolis to packed audiences and rave reviews. This underdog show wants to return home to New York and open on Broadway, empowering an important community of New Yorkers who deserve to be seen and heard.

Edafe Okporo Edafe Okporo
Edafe Okporo
Edafe Okporo
ACTIVIST, MANHATTAN
Rdjrefugeeshelter.org
BRINGING HUMANITY TO HOMELESSNESS IN A SHELTER THAT PRIORITIZES COMMUNITY AND HEALING FOR REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS

Edafe is striving to end street homelessness through partnerships with faith institutions and with targeted advocacy. The RDJ Refugee Shelter is more than a shelter; it’s a space where asylum-seekers and immigrants can access community and start to rebuild their lives. There are currently 83,000 people looking for housing in NYC, and Edafe’s mission is to ensure every New Yorker can transition with dignity to safe housing.

Cielo Villa Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
ENTREPRENEUR, QUEENS
Instagram.com/road_to_uni | Facebook.com/roadtouni
REDEFINING COLLEGE GUIDANCE FOR YOUNG NEW YORKERS WHO ARE FIRST GENERATION, UNDOCUMENTED, AND / OR LACK CRITICAL RESOURCES

Cielo wants to ensure all marginalized NYC students can realize their college dreams — not just a lucky few with top test scores or leadership roles. Cielo is building an online resource called Road to Uni that will act as a supercharged, hyper-accessible college advisor, open to all and offering a gamified roadmap with quick informational videos, live support, and actionable resources to navigate the overwhelming college admissions process.

Maria Guadalupe Martinez Maria Guadalupe Martinez
Maria Guadalupe Martinez
Maria Guadalupe Martinez
EDUCATOR, MANHATTAN
Creany.org
EMPOWERING IMMIGRANT PARENTS TO WORK TOWARDS THEIR AMERICAN DREAMS AND SUPPORT THEIR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT

While serving as a PTA member at her children’s school, Maria developed a plan to help immigrant women gain access to education in the USA. This vision became Centro de Recursos Educativos para Adultos (CREA), a space in East Harlem offering adult literacy and education to parents across the five boroughs. The program currently serves 170+ people. More than an education platform, CREA equips parents with skills to become active participants in and advocates for their children’s growth.

Nelson Luna Nelson Luna
Nelson Luna
Nelson Luna
ACTIVIST, BRONX
Teenstakecharge.com
USING MEDIA AND STUDENT ORGANIZING TO PUSH NEW YORK TOWARD A MORE INTEGRATED, EQUITABLE EDUCATION FUTURE
Nelson is a product of New York City’s public school system who now attends Columbia University. At 16, Nelson, along with fellow students, launched Teens Take Charge, a student activist group. His plan is to push New York to become a leader in providing integrated, equitable, quality education to every student — regardless of their status or zip code.
Sutton King Sutton King
Sutton King
Sutton King
ADVOCATE, CITYWIDE
Urbanindigenouscollective.org | Learn more here
INDIGENIZING EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURES AND ENSURING CULTURAL HUMILITY IN HEALTH AND WELLNESS SERVICES
More than 100K Native Americans live in New York City — making this the largest population of Urban Natives in the United States. Sutton founded the Urban Indigenous Collective to bring together and elevate the Indigenous population, create better access to health services, and build community.  
Yin Kong Yin Kong
Yin Kong
Yin Kong
URBANIST, MANHATTAN
Thinkchinatown.org
BUILDING GENERATIONAL COMMUNITY IN CHINATOWN THROUGH CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, STORYTELLING AND THE ARTS

Yin believes Chinatown’s survival depends on the community’s ability to advocate for equal access to resources. Together with an intergenerational group of volunteers, she built Think!Chinatown, a non-profit focusing on neighborhood engagement fostered by storytelling and the arts. Through projects like Chinatown Arts Week, The Art of Storytelling, & Everyday Chinatown, T!C honors, explores, and presents the culture and history of the community that have long made NYC’s Chinatown a vibrant immigrant neighborhood. Guided by an older generation of Chinatown organizers, Yin directs community actions to address neighborhood issues. Yin dreams of hosting kitchen classes, artists residencies, art exhibits, & community workshops in a permanent space for and in Chinatown.

Su Sanni Su Sanni
Su Sanni
Su Sanni
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Dollaride.com
RE-IMAGINING TRANSIT DESERTS AND EASING COMMUTES BY IMPROVING ACCESS TO DOLLAR VAN DRIVERS

Su is transforming urban transit for the many New Yorkers without access to the city’s public transportation system. Dollaride eases the connection between riders and vans-for-hire with transparent routes, consistent schedules, and mobile payments. Su hopes to connect the extensive dollar van network to existing public infrastructure and expand their territory to improve economic mobility.

Stefan Henry Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Levelthecurve.com
MAKING NEW YORK CITY MORE ACCESSIBLE WITH USER-FRIENDLY, BEAUTIFUL TOOLS TO AID PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Stefan is a user-centric designer who wants to make it easier for people with disabilities to thrive in New York City. Stefan and his team have developed tools that make a variety of daily tasks more accessible, like an easy- to-deploy lightweight wheelchair ramp; a multipurpose eating utensil; and an arm-support to help users play video games. His vision is simple: achieve accessibility and independence for people with disabilities by re-imagining everyday devices.

Rasmia Kirmani-Frye Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
CONNECTOR, CITY-WIDE
Twitter.com/rasmiakf | Instagram.com/rasmiak
BUILDING TRUST TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING IN NEW YORK CITY BY CENTERING RESIDENTS AND CREATING, SOMETIMES, UNLIKELY PARTNERSHIPS

One in 15 New Yorkers lives in public housing — many of them the public servants who keep New York City safe and vibrant. But too often this huge and critical system is overlooked or given up as an intractable problem. Rasmia wants to reinvent our public housing system by building networks from generative, community-centered relationships to embrace “truth and reconciliation,” and develop real action plans to change the system. 

Antya Waegemann Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
DESIGNER, CITYWIDE
Redesignthekit.com
IMPROVING THE EXPERIENCE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS BY REDESIGNING THE EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS USED IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM AND BEYOND
Antya is a designer and advocate working at the intersection of survivors and health professionals in the aftermath of sexual assault.  In collaboration with co-founder Lona Vincent and an amazing community of non-profits, social workers, medical professionals, political leaders, and legal experts, Antya is working on an integrated resource – a redesigned sexual assault evidence kit and a digital app. For survivors, this project aims to improve accessibility, transparency and the experience of finding and getting kits. For healthcare providers, it will make it easier to administer kits, allowing them to provide better, trauma-informed care to patients in and out of the emergency room.
 
Deborah Navarro Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
TECHNOLOGIST, CITYWIDE
Lightly.me | View tech in action
CREATING EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE TRANSIT SOLUTIONS FOR NYC USING AIR LEVITATION TECHNOLOGY

Deborah is a leader in air-levitation technology designed to autonomously move goods and people from one point to the next. (Cred: she won Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition after being told she didn’t qualify). Deborah is taking this technology to the streets to reimagine the way New Yorkers move through the city — safely, quickly, and with low carbon emissions. She aims to create a community driven transportation revolution that empowers New Yorkers to be a part of the conversation and design.

Akili Hinson Akili Hinson
Akili Hinson
Akili Hinson
DOCTOR, MANHATTAN
Juno.care
BUILDING A ONE-STOP SOLUTION OFFERING EVERYDAY FAMILY HEALTHCARE FOR THE 99%

Akili is building the new healthcare home New York City’s families. Juno Medical is a one-stop solution for you and your family’s everyday care needs that features exceptional hospitality, modern technology, and transparent prices that won’t break the bank. Akili and his team believe that great care is for everyone, so he’s set out to build a premier consumer healthcare brand that’s designed for the 99%.   

Domingo Morales Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
COMPOST GURU, CITYWIDE
Instagram.com/CompostPower
REUSING NEW YORK CITY'S ORGANIC WASTE AND MAKING IT COOL TO COMPOST

One third of NYC’s trash is organic — but too often this useful waste gets wasted. Domingo is working to solve this problem and grow plants for New York’s tomorrow. And after managing Red Hook Farms’s composting operation, he’s an expert in food chemistry, safe and healthy composting habits, and teaching others to make it happen. Domingo is developing a ‘how to’ compost guide and launching a new podcast called Compost Power to share expertise in support of composting processes around the city. 

Yin Q Yin Q
Yin Q
Yin Q
CREATRIX, CITY-WIDE
Bodyofworkers.com | Yinq.net
Developing Body of Workers, a platform for sharing art, stories, and media by and for artists and content makers in the sex industries

Yin Q creates spaces and platforms to advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers through art, storytelling, and celebration. She is the founder of Kink Out and is a core member of Red Canary Song and AAPI grassroots collective that organizes migrant massage and sex workers and connects them to medical, legal, and mutual aid. Yin’s new idea — Body of Workers — will be an online ‘backstage’ for sex workers to create, share, and build community.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Yin Q, an advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers

Sharon Richardson Sharon Richardson
Sharon Richardson
Sharon Richardson
HEALER, MANHATTAN & QUEENS
Justsoulcatering.com | Reentryrocks.org
Dismantling barriers for formerly incarcerated survivors of domestic violence through creative arts, training, mentorship, and counseling

Sharon started Just Soul Catering in 2015, a small business that not only brings fantastic soul food to New York City, but also provides jobs, education, and advocacy to its formerly incarcerated woman identified and non binary participants . Just Soul Catering works in tandem with Re-Entry Rocks which offers a full array of services, from dance focused on healing to entrepreneurship preparation and incubation and from mentorship to training in food preparation and event set-up. Sharon and her team have created a close community dedicated to addressing the unique issues faced by survivors of both domestic violence and incarceration.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Sharon Richardson, founder of Just Soul Catering and Re-Entry Rocks

Suzette Brown Suzette Brown
Suzette Brown
Suzette Brown
DOCTOR, QUEENS
Strongchildrenwellness.com
INTEGRATING BEST-IN-CLASS PEDIATRIC CARE WITHIN TRUSTED SOCIAL SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS AND ALIGNING PAYMENTS TO HEALTH OUTCOMES

Suzette is a pediatrician seeking to transform the way healthcare is delivered in NYC’s marginalized communities by using a ‘reverse integration’ model of care. After working with a single mom of seven who had become homeless after fleeing domestic violence, Suzette was inspired to collaborate within the fragmented social service / mental health system to more holistically support families. The Strong Children Wellness model embeds pediatric clinics within existing community-based social service and mental health organizations so that a comprehensive team — not just doctors — can fully address the needs of children and families. Strong Children Wellness plans to pilot a value-based payment system for pediatric care that is tied to improved health and well-being outcomes.

Father Michael Lopez Father Michael Lopez
Father Michael Lopez
Father Michael Lopez
CATHOLIC PRIEST, QUEENS
Monkworx.org
BUILDING A FAITH-BASED BLUEPRINT TO ADDRESS FOOD INSECURITY AND PROVIDE TEMPORARY SHELTER

Father Michael Lopez is a Catholic priest and the creator of Hungry Monks, a mobile food pantry based in Ridgewood that exponentially increased service during the coronavirus pandemic. (If you’d asked 8-year-old Mike what kind of priest he would want to be, his answer probably would have been simply “a good one.”) Michael has transformed his church basement into a shelter — using a monastery model — and is creating a roadmap for other faith-based institutions to follow suit.

Kit Yan Kit Yan
Kit Yan
Kit Yan
STORYTELLER, CITYWIDE
Interstatemusical.com
TRANSFORMING THE STAGES OF NEW YORK TO SHARE STORIES FROM TRANSGENDER AND QUEER PEOPLE OF COLOR (LGBTQ POC)

Kit Yan and Melissa Li want to bring vibrant nontraditional voices to Broadway with their musical Interstate, a coming-of-age story about Queer and Trans Asian-American experiences. The musical, developed in NYC over 8 years, opened in Minneapolis to packed audiences and rave reviews. This underdog show wants to return home to New York and open on Broadway, empowering an important community of New Yorkers who deserve to be seen and heard.

Cielo Villa Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
ENTREPRENEUR, QUEENS
Instagram.com/road_to_uni | Facebook.com/roadtouni
REDEFINING COLLEGE GUIDANCE FOR YOUNG NEW YORKERS WHO ARE FIRST GENERATION, UNDOCUMENTED, AND / OR LACK CRITICAL RESOURCES

Cielo wants to ensure all marginalized NYC students can realize their college dreams — not just a lucky few with top test scores or leadership roles. Cielo is building an online resource called Road to Uni that will act as a supercharged, hyper-accessible college advisor, open to all and offering a gamified roadmap with quick informational videos, live support, and actionable resources to navigate the overwhelming college admissions process.

Nelson Luna Nelson Luna
Nelson Luna
Nelson Luna
ACTIVIST, BRONX
Teenstakecharge.com
USING MEDIA AND STUDENT ORGANIZING TO PUSH NEW YORK TOWARD A MORE INTEGRATED, EQUITABLE EDUCATION FUTURE
Nelson is a product of New York City’s public school system who now attends Columbia University. At 16, Nelson, along with fellow students, launched Teens Take Charge, a student activist group. His plan is to push New York to become a leader in providing integrated, equitable, quality education to every student — regardless of their status or zip code.
Sutton King Sutton King
Sutton King
Sutton King
ADVOCATE, CITYWIDE
Urbanindigenouscollective.org | Learn more here
INDIGENIZING EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURES AND ENSURING CULTURAL HUMILITY IN HEALTH AND WELLNESS SERVICES
More than 100K Native Americans live in New York City — making this the largest population of Urban Natives in the United States. Sutton founded the Urban Indigenous Collective to bring together and elevate the Indigenous population, create better access to health services, and build community.  
Su Sanni Su Sanni
Su Sanni
Su Sanni
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Dollaride.com
RE-IMAGINING TRANSIT DESERTS AND EASING COMMUTES BY IMPROVING ACCESS TO DOLLAR VAN DRIVERS

Su is transforming urban transit for the many New Yorkers without access to the city’s public transportation system. Dollaride eases the connection between riders and vans-for-hire with transparent routes, consistent schedules, and mobile payments. Su hopes to connect the extensive dollar van network to existing public infrastructure and expand their territory to improve economic mobility.

Stefan Henry Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Levelthecurve.com
MAKING NEW YORK CITY MORE ACCESSIBLE WITH USER-FRIENDLY, BEAUTIFUL TOOLS TO AID PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Stefan is a user-centric designer who wants to make it easier for people with disabilities to thrive in New York City. Stefan and his team have developed tools that make a variety of daily tasks more accessible, like an easy- to-deploy lightweight wheelchair ramp; a multipurpose eating utensil; and an arm-support to help users play video games. His vision is simple: achieve accessibility and independence for people with disabilities by re-imagining everyday devices.

Rasmia Kirmani-Frye Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
CONNECTOR, CITY-WIDE
Twitter.com/rasmiakf | Instagram.com/rasmiak
BUILDING TRUST TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING IN NEW YORK CITY BY CENTERING RESIDENTS AND CREATING, SOMETIMES, UNLIKELY PARTNERSHIPS

One in 15 New Yorkers lives in public housing — many of them the public servants who keep New York City safe and vibrant. But too often this huge and critical system is overlooked or given up as an intractable problem. Rasmia wants to reinvent our public housing system by building networks from generative, community-centered relationships to embrace “truth and reconciliation,” and develop real action plans to change the system. 

Manuel Castro Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
ORGANIZER, QUEENS
Nynice.org | Página en español
LEADING AN INNOVATIVE HUB OF WORKER CENTERS WHERE UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS CAN ACCESS SAFE AND FAIR PAYING JOBS

Manuel’s journey across the Mexico-US border at the age of five with his mother sparked a passion for helping others envision and find opportunity. As an early DREAMer – a movement of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children – Manuel now leads New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a grassroots organization that provides NYC’s day laborers and new immigrants with support services and leadership development programs. Manuel wants to test new ways of organizing this critical and essential workforce citywide around cooperative work and social and economic justice.

Antya Waegemann Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
DESIGNER, CITYWIDE
Redesignthekit.com
IMPROVING THE EXPERIENCE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS BY REDESIGNING THE EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS USED IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM AND BEYOND
Antya is a designer and advocate working at the intersection of survivors and health professionals in the aftermath of sexual assault.  In collaboration with co-founder Lona Vincent and an amazing community of non-profits, social workers, medical professionals, political leaders, and legal experts, Antya is working on an integrated resource – a redesigned sexual assault evidence kit and a digital app. For survivors, this project aims to improve accessibility, transparency and the experience of finding and getting kits. For healthcare providers, it will make it easier to administer kits, allowing them to provide better, trauma-informed care to patients in and out of the emergency room.
 
Deborah Navarro Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
TECHNOLOGIST, CITYWIDE
Lightly.me | View tech in action
CREATING EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE TRANSIT SOLUTIONS FOR NYC USING AIR LEVITATION TECHNOLOGY

Deborah is a leader in air-levitation technology designed to autonomously move goods and people from one point to the next. (Cred: she won Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition after being told she didn’t qualify). Deborah is taking this technology to the streets to reimagine the way New Yorkers move through the city — safely, quickly, and with low carbon emissions. She aims to create a community driven transportation revolution that empowers New Yorkers to be a part of the conversation and design.

Domingo Morales Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
COMPOST GURU, CITYWIDE
Instagram.com/CompostPower
REUSING NEW YORK CITY'S ORGANIC WASTE AND MAKING IT COOL TO COMPOST

One third of NYC’s trash is organic — but too often this useful waste gets wasted. Domingo is working to solve this problem and grow plants for New York’s tomorrow. And after managing Red Hook Farms’s composting operation, he’s an expert in food chemistry, safe and healthy composting habits, and teaching others to make it happen. Domingo is developing a ‘how to’ compost guide and launching a new podcast called Compost Power to share expertise in support of composting processes around the city. 

Yin Q Yin Q
Yin Q
Yin Q
CREATRIX, CITY-WIDE
Bodyofworkers.com | Yinq.net
Developing Body of Workers, a platform for sharing art, stories, and media by and for artists and content makers in the sex industries

Yin Q creates spaces and platforms to advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers through art, storytelling, and celebration. She is the founder of Kink Out and is a core member of Red Canary Song and AAPI grassroots collective that organizes migrant massage and sex workers and connects them to medical, legal, and mutual aid. Yin’s new idea — Body of Workers — will be an online ‘backstage’ for sex workers to create, share, and build community.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Yin Q, an advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers

Kristin Wallace Kristin Wallace
Kristin Wallace
Kristin Wallace
AMPLIFIER, STATEN ISLAND
Makerparkradio.nyc
Creating a platform to teach empathy and understanding of our neighbors in Staten Island -- New York’s forgotten borough

By illuminating the lore and culture of Staten Island via a media hub and FM radio station, Kristin wants to increase appreciation for the many cultures and neighborhoods of NYC’s most outer borough.  She gives the tools and mic to Staten Islanders to amplify their special stories, culture, and artistic talents. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Kristin Wallace, founder of MakerPark Radio

Gladys Jones Gladys Jones
Gladys Jones
Gladys Jones
CHAMPION FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS, STATEN ISLAND
Eceonthemove.com
Advocating for representation, fair pay, and benefits for thousands of family childcare professionals who provide essential services throughout NYC

Gladys is the co-founder of ECE on the Move, a group of more than 600 early childhood educators working in residential settings in New York City. Sometimes called “home-based childcare workers” or “family child care providers,” ECE on the Move uses the term “early childhood educators,” which more accurately reflects their many skills. Gladys and her co-founder, Doris Irizarry, spent years organizing providers, but eventually tired of the lack of respect and representation they saw in politics and policies affecting their industry. They formally established ECE on the Move in 2019 and have built a thriving community of early childhood educators mobilized for positive change.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Gladys Jones, co-founder of Early Childhood Educators on the Move

Cesar Vargas Cesar Vargas
Cesar Vargas
Cesar Vargas
DISRUPTOR, STATEN ISLAND
Read the latest on Cesar's work in this Gothamist article
Building a coalition to provide competent legal counsel to immigrants (and their families) serving in the Armed Forces as they navigate immigration and military law

More than half a million US veterans were born outside the United States, and nearly two million are US-born children of immigrants. Cesar Vargas was born in Mexico, grew up undocumented in the US, and went on to serve in the armed forces. Now the first undocumented lawyer in the country focuses on this nexus — working to ensure fair and accessible immigration services for active service members and veterans vulnerable to deportation.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Cesar Vargas, an advocate for immigrants serving in the military

Kit Yan Kit Yan
Kit Yan
Kit Yan
STORYTELLER, CITYWIDE
Interstatemusical.com
TRANSFORMING THE STAGES OF NEW YORK TO SHARE STORIES FROM TRANSGENDER AND QUEER PEOPLE OF COLOR (LGBTQ POC)

Kit Yan and Melissa Li want to bring vibrant nontraditional voices to Broadway with their musical Interstate, a coming-of-age story about Queer and Trans Asian-American experiences. The musical, developed in NYC over 8 years, opened in Minneapolis to packed audiences and rave reviews. This underdog show wants to return home to New York and open on Broadway, empowering an important community of New Yorkers who deserve to be seen and heard.

Cielo Villa Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
ENTREPRENEUR, QUEENS
Instagram.com/road_to_uni | Facebook.com/roadtouni
REDEFINING COLLEGE GUIDANCE FOR YOUNG NEW YORKERS WHO ARE FIRST GENERATION, UNDOCUMENTED, AND / OR LACK CRITICAL RESOURCES

Cielo wants to ensure all marginalized NYC students can realize their college dreams — not just a lucky few with top test scores or leadership roles. Cielo is building an online resource called Road to Uni that will act as a supercharged, hyper-accessible college advisor, open to all and offering a gamified roadmap with quick informational videos, live support, and actionable resources to navigate the overwhelming college admissions process.

Nelson Luna Nelson Luna
Nelson Luna
Nelson Luna
ACTIVIST, BRONX
Teenstakecharge.com
USING MEDIA AND STUDENT ORGANIZING TO PUSH NEW YORK TOWARD A MORE INTEGRATED, EQUITABLE EDUCATION FUTURE
Nelson is a product of New York City’s public school system who now attends Columbia University. At 16, Nelson, along with fellow students, launched Teens Take Charge, a student activist group. His plan is to push New York to become a leader in providing integrated, equitable, quality education to every student — regardless of their status or zip code.
Sutton King Sutton King
Sutton King
Sutton King
ADVOCATE, CITYWIDE
Urbanindigenouscollective.org | Learn more here
INDIGENIZING EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURES AND ENSURING CULTURAL HUMILITY IN HEALTH AND WELLNESS SERVICES
More than 100K Native Americans live in New York City — making this the largest population of Urban Natives in the United States. Sutton founded the Urban Indigenous Collective to bring together and elevate the Indigenous population, create better access to health services, and build community.  
Su Sanni Su Sanni
Su Sanni
Su Sanni
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Dollaride.com
RE-IMAGINING TRANSIT DESERTS AND EASING COMMUTES BY IMPROVING ACCESS TO DOLLAR VAN DRIVERS

Su is transforming urban transit for the many New Yorkers without access to the city’s public transportation system. Dollaride eases the connection between riders and vans-for-hire with transparent routes, consistent schedules, and mobile payments. Su hopes to connect the extensive dollar van network to existing public infrastructure and expand their territory to improve economic mobility.

Stefan Henry Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Levelthecurve.com
MAKING NEW YORK CITY MORE ACCESSIBLE WITH USER-FRIENDLY, BEAUTIFUL TOOLS TO AID PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Stefan is a user-centric designer who wants to make it easier for people with disabilities to thrive in New York City. Stefan and his team have developed tools that make a variety of daily tasks more accessible, like an easy- to-deploy lightweight wheelchair ramp; a multipurpose eating utensil; and an arm-support to help users play video games. His vision is simple: achieve accessibility and independence for people with disabilities by re-imagining everyday devices.

Rasmia Kirmani-Frye Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
CONNECTOR, CITY-WIDE
Twitter.com/rasmiakf | Instagram.com/rasmiak
BUILDING TRUST TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING IN NEW YORK CITY BY CENTERING RESIDENTS AND CREATING, SOMETIMES, UNLIKELY PARTNERSHIPS

One in 15 New Yorkers lives in public housing — many of them the public servants who keep New York City safe and vibrant. But too often this huge and critical system is overlooked or given up as an intractable problem. Rasmia wants to reinvent our public housing system by building networks from generative, community-centered relationships to embrace “truth and reconciliation,” and develop real action plans to change the system. 

Antya Waegemann Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
DESIGNER, CITYWIDE
Redesignthekit.com
IMPROVING THE EXPERIENCE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS BY REDESIGNING THE EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS USED IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM AND BEYOND
Antya is a designer and advocate working at the intersection of survivors and health professionals in the aftermath of sexual assault.  In collaboration with co-founder Lona Vincent and an amazing community of non-profits, social workers, medical professionals, political leaders, and legal experts, Antya is working on an integrated resource – a redesigned sexual assault evidence kit and a digital app. For survivors, this project aims to improve accessibility, transparency and the experience of finding and getting kits. For healthcare providers, it will make it easier to administer kits, allowing them to provide better, trauma-informed care to patients in and out of the emergency room.
 
Deborah Navarro Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
TECHNOLOGIST, CITYWIDE
Lightly.me | View tech in action
CREATING EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE TRANSIT SOLUTIONS FOR NYC USING AIR LEVITATION TECHNOLOGY

Deborah is a leader in air-levitation technology designed to autonomously move goods and people from one point to the next. (Cred: she won Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition after being told she didn’t qualify). Deborah is taking this technology to the streets to reimagine the way New Yorkers move through the city — safely, quickly, and with low carbon emissions. She aims to create a community driven transportation revolution that empowers New Yorkers to be a part of the conversation and design.

Domingo Morales Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
COMPOST GURU, CITYWIDE
Instagram.com/CompostPower
REUSING NEW YORK CITY'S ORGANIC WASTE AND MAKING IT COOL TO COMPOST

One third of NYC’s trash is organic — but too often this useful waste gets wasted. Domingo is working to solve this problem and grow plants for New York’s tomorrow. And after managing Red Hook Farms’s composting operation, he’s an expert in food chemistry, safe and healthy composting habits, and teaching others to make it happen. Domingo is developing a ‘how to’ compost guide and launching a new podcast called Compost Power to share expertise in support of composting processes around the city. 

Yin Q Yin Q
Yin Q
Yin Q
CREATRIX, CITY-WIDE
Bodyofworkers.com | Yinq.net
Developing Body of Workers, a platform for sharing art, stories, and media by and for artists and content makers in the sex industries

Yin Q creates spaces and platforms to advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers through art, storytelling, and celebration. She is the founder of Kink Out and is a core member of Red Canary Song and AAPI grassroots collective that organizes migrant massage and sex workers and connects them to medical, legal, and mutual aid. Yin’s new idea — Body of Workers — will be an online ‘backstage’ for sex workers to create, share, and build community.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Yin Q, an advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers

Kristin Wallace Kristin Wallace
Kristin Wallace
Kristin Wallace
AMPLIFIER, STATEN ISLAND
Makerparkradio.nyc
Creating a platform to teach empathy and understanding of our neighbors in Staten Island -- New York’s forgotten borough

By illuminating the lore and culture of Staten Island via a media hub and FM radio station, Kristin wants to increase appreciation for the many cultures and neighborhoods of NYC’s most outer borough.  She gives the tools and mic to Staten Islanders to amplify their special stories, culture, and artistic talents. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Kristin Wallace, founder of MakerPark Radio

Hackett Hackett
Hackett
Hackett
INCITER, BROOKLYN
Learn more about Hackett's work in this New York Times article
Take trash. Add science. Produce clean fuel.

Using a unusual skillset, which includes dumpster diving, moonshining, and collaborative DIY, Hackett has developed a way to produce a clean, renewable gasoline replacement from bread — specifically the mountain of unsold and imperfect bread thrown away in NYC every day that contains volumes of potential energy in its concentrated carbs. His worker-owned co-op will intercept this waste and then ferment and distill it into renewable, low-emission ethanol fuel. Like the movement to transform used fry oil into biodiesel, this process represents a new pathway to sustainability and community ownership of a cleaner future.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Hackett, founder of a new cooperative that turns bakery waste into fuel

Caridad De La Luz Caridad De La Luz
Caridad De La Luz
Caridad De La Luz
POET, BRONX
Instagram.com/labrujaNYC
Using the power of spoken word and indigenous practices to uplift, unify, and heal diasporic Puerto Rican, LGBTQ and BIPOC at “El Garaje” - a 1920s trucking garage in the Bronx that doubles as an art and wellness cultivation center

Caridad is a Bronx native, world-renowned spoken word artist known as “La Bruja,” who transformed a 100-year old garage behind her home into a cultural, art, and spiritual center. She envisions El Garaje as a site for creative residencies, learning and projection projects, and a sanctuary space for indigenous artists, activists, and practitioners. After opening its doors in 2016, she learned that it is built on what once was a Siwanoy village called Snakapins. Ultimately, the vision is for El Garaje to become a historic site and beacon from which a new village can emerge in the Soundview section of The Bronx.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Caridad de la Luz, also known as La Bruja, founder of a community art space in Soundview, Bronx called El Garaje

Kit Yan Kit Yan
Kit Yan
Kit Yan
STORYTELLER, CITYWIDE
Interstatemusical.com
TRANSFORMING THE STAGES OF NEW YORK TO SHARE STORIES FROM TRANSGENDER AND QUEER PEOPLE OF COLOR (LGBTQ POC)

Kit Yan and Melissa Li want to bring vibrant nontraditional voices to Broadway with their musical Interstate, a coming-of-age story about Queer and Trans Asian-American experiences. The musical, developed in NYC over 8 years, opened in Minneapolis to packed audiences and rave reviews. This underdog show wants to return home to New York and open on Broadway, empowering an important community of New Yorkers who deserve to be seen and heard.

Yin Kong Yin Kong
Yin Kong
Yin Kong
URBANIST, MANHATTAN
Thinkchinatown.org
BUILDING GENERATIONAL COMMUNITY IN CHINATOWN THROUGH CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, STORYTELLING AND THE ARTS

Yin believes Chinatown’s survival depends on the community’s ability to advocate for equal access to resources. Together with an intergenerational group of volunteers, she built Think!Chinatown, a non-profit focusing on neighborhood engagement fostered by storytelling and the arts. Through projects like Chinatown Arts Week, The Art of Storytelling, & Everyday Chinatown, T!C honors, explores, and presents the culture and history of the community that have long made NYC’s Chinatown a vibrant immigrant neighborhood. Guided by an older generation of Chinatown organizers, Yin directs community actions to address neighborhood issues. Yin dreams of hosting kitchen classes, artists residencies, art exhibits, & community workshops in a permanent space for and in Chinatown.

Jaime-Jin Lewis Jaime-Jin Lewis
Jaime-Jin Lewis
Jaime-Jin Lewis
INNOVATOR, BROOKLYN
Wiggleroomnow.com | Twitter.com/jaimejin
Fighting for a more durable and dynamic childcare system where providers, families, and children thrive

Jaime-Jin Lewis envisions a New York where every parent has access to affordable, quality childcare; every child is surrounded by a caring community; and the majority-woman-powered workforce of childcare providers enjoys dignified jobs with fair pay. She founded Wiggle Room to innovate solutions toward these goals. Jaime-Jin organized #WorkersNeedChildcare, a hotline to help essential workers navigate childcare during the pandemic, and #CareTogetherNYC, a mutual aid project to disburse cash assistance to essential workers with untenable childcare costs due to school and daycare closures. She is currently launching a new platform that connects two overlooked communities: parents who work fluctuating, hourly jobs and home-based childcare providers.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Jaime-Jin Lewis, founder of Wiggle Room, a platform to make childcare more accessible for NYC families

Fela Barclift Fela Barclift
Fela Barclift
Fela Barclift
JEGNA, BROOKLYN
Littlesunpeople.com
Partnering with parents and community to foster self-esteem and unassailably positive identity through an Afrocentric/Culturally Responsive curriculum built on 40 years of experience in early childhood education

NYC’s youngest residents deserve to be seen, heard and loved in their classrooms — particularly Black and Brown children who too often start at a disadvantage. For 40 years, Fela Barclift has led Little Sun People, an early childhood education center in Brooklyn with an Afrocentric/Culturally Responsive curriculum where children ages 2-5 can express themselves through African dance, drumming, music, martial arts, chess,  and play. Fela’s kids learn and grow by gardening, cooking, taking field trips (offsite, on campus, and virtually) and by supporting local Black-owned businesses.  It’s a community that joyfully celebrates, learns from, and is inspired by the countless contributions people of African descent have made to NYC and around the globe.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Fela Barclift, founder of Little Sun People, a childcare program with an African centered focus

Darnell Benoit Darnell Benoit
Darnell Benoit
Darnell Benoit
EDUCATOR, BROOKLYN
Flanbwayan.org
Using technology to help newcomer immigrant youth build relationships, encounter unexpected influences, and engage in educational activities outside school

After 14 years as a New York City ESL instructor and frustrated by the lack of resources for immigrant students, Darnell Benoit founded Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project in 2005. FHLC fights for change in the NYC Public School System so that newcomer youth can receive necessary support — neither defined nor limited by discrimination, isolation, or language barriers. The Immigrant Youth Project (IYLP) will use technology to build a safe citywide support network where young immigrants can build relationships, encounter unexpected influences, and engage in educational activities outside school walls. Using dance, art, music, filmmaking, podcasts, book clubs, and leadership development activities, the IYLP will create new pathways for recent newcomers to co-create community and wellbeing.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Darnell Benoit, founder of Flanbwayan and advocate for immigrant youth city-wide

Cielo Villa Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
ENTREPRENEUR, QUEENS
Instagram.com/road_to_uni | Facebook.com/roadtouni
REDEFINING COLLEGE GUIDANCE FOR YOUNG NEW YORKERS WHO ARE FIRST GENERATION, UNDOCUMENTED, AND / OR LACK CRITICAL RESOURCES

Cielo wants to ensure all marginalized NYC students can realize their college dreams — not just a lucky few with top test scores or leadership roles. Cielo is building an online resource called Road to Uni that will act as a supercharged, hyper-accessible college advisor, open to all and offering a gamified roadmap with quick informational videos, live support, and actionable resources to navigate the overwhelming college admissions process.

Maria Guadalupe Martinez Maria Guadalupe Martinez
Maria Guadalupe Martinez
Maria Guadalupe Martinez
EDUCATOR, MANHATTAN
Creany.org
EMPOWERING IMMIGRANT PARENTS TO WORK TOWARDS THEIR AMERICAN DREAMS AND SUPPORT THEIR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT

While serving as a PTA member at her children’s school, Maria developed a plan to help immigrant women gain access to education in the USA. This vision became Centro de Recursos Educativos para Adultos (CREA), a space in East Harlem offering adult literacy and education to parents across the five boroughs. The program currently serves 170+ people. More than an education platform, CREA equips parents with skills to become active participants in and advocates for their children’s growth.

Nelson Luna Nelson Luna
Nelson Luna
Nelson Luna
ACTIVIST, BRONX
Teenstakecharge.com
USING MEDIA AND STUDENT ORGANIZING TO PUSH NEW YORK TOWARD A MORE INTEGRATED, EQUITABLE EDUCATION FUTURE
Nelson is a product of New York City’s public school system who now attends Columbia University. At 16, Nelson, along with fellow students, launched Teens Take Charge, a student activist group. His plan is to push New York to become a leader in providing integrated, equitable, quality education to every student — regardless of their status or zip code.
Hackett Hackett
Hackett
Hackett
INCITER, BROOKLYN
Learn more about Hackett's work in this New York Times article
Take trash. Add science. Produce clean fuel.

Using a unusual skillset, which includes dumpster diving, moonshining, and collaborative DIY, Hackett has developed a way to produce a clean, renewable gasoline replacement from bread — specifically the mountain of unsold and imperfect bread thrown away in NYC every day that contains volumes of potential energy in its concentrated carbs. His worker-owned co-op will intercept this waste and then ferment and distill it into renewable, low-emission ethanol fuel. Like the movement to transform used fry oil into biodiesel, this process represents a new pathway to sustainability and community ownership of a cleaner future.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Hackett, founder of a new cooperative that turns bakery waste into fuel

Chino Hardin Chino Hardin
Chino Hardin
Chino Hardin
ORGANIZER, BROOKLYN
Nuleadership.org | Bklynboihood.com
DISRUPTING THE CYCLE OF MASS INCARCERATION AND INEQUITY BY CONNECTING THOSE IMPACTED TO NATURE AND INDIGENOUS & BLACK HEALING PRACTICES

Chino’s lived experience as a formerly incarcerated, Black and Indiginous Trans person provides deep inspiration for NuLegacy, a program designed to support Black, Indigenous, Queer & Trans New Yorkers whose lives have been devastated by prison involvement.  His radical idea?  To use ancestral healing practices and connect folks — sometimes for the first time — to nature.  For the last 20 years, Chino has taught youth and families in Bedstuy that stewardship of land and community can lead to healing and transformation.

Deborah Navarro Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
TECHNOLOGIST, CITYWIDE
Lightly.me | View tech in action
CREATING EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE TRANSIT SOLUTIONS FOR NYC USING AIR LEVITATION TECHNOLOGY

Deborah is a leader in air-levitation technology designed to autonomously move goods and people from one point to the next. (Cred: she won Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition after being told she didn’t qualify). Deborah is taking this technology to the streets to reimagine the way New Yorkers move through the city — safely, quickly, and with low carbon emissions. She aims to create a community driven transportation revolution that empowers New Yorkers to be a part of the conversation and design.

Domingo Morales Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
COMPOST GURU, CITYWIDE
Instagram.com/CompostPower
REUSING NEW YORK CITY'S ORGANIC WASTE AND MAKING IT COOL TO COMPOST

One third of NYC’s trash is organic — but too often this useful waste gets wasted. Domingo is working to solve this problem and grow plants for New York’s tomorrow. And after managing Red Hook Farms’s composting operation, he’s an expert in food chemistry, safe and healthy composting habits, and teaching others to make it happen. Domingo is developing a ‘how to’ compost guide and launching a new podcast called Compost Power to share expertise in support of composting processes around the city. 

Michael Angelo Roberson Michael Angelo Roberson
Michael Angelo Roberson
Michael Angelo Roberson
THEOLOGIAN, BROOKLYN
Watch Michael's Ted Talk to learn more about his work
Uplifting the House Ball scene as a beloved community of Black/Latinx LGBT folks through radical education, chosen family, and public health advocacy

Michael believes that ballroom can speak profound truths about humanity and struggle. The Freedom School, named after the late great Ballroom Icon, Arbert Santana, strives to be a beloved community in the old sense — not an ordinary brick and mortar institution, but a forum to channel events, literature and pedagogy, leadership, mentorship, and identity for NYC’s Black / Latinx / LGBT ballroom family.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Michael Angelo Roberson, an advocate working towards the invigoration of the House Ball scene

Liz Jackson Liz Jackson
Liz Jackson
Liz Jackson
TROUBLEMAKER, BROOKLYN
Linktr.ee/eejackson
Redesigning the diagnostic process for chronic, invisible illnesses, by centering the knowledge of ill people and communities

Medical diagnoses are seen as final answers, deduced by all-knowing medical professionals who translate symptoms into objective clinical signs and accredited illnesses. Within this framework there is little room for chronically, invisibly ill patients whose symptoms do not readily translate into those signs. Their desire to be diagnosed is often regarded with suspicion and equated with a desire to be sick. But for many chronically ill people, including Liz, diagnosis means gaining access to the language of their body, learning how to recognize and respond to its needs, and work with it rather than constantly fighting against it. For this reason, Liz wants to compile, analyze and map the nuanced body-languages of chronically ill New Yorkers, and use them to create tools that not only support undiagnosed people to recognize and understand events within their own bodies, but also change the way we think about diagnosis itself.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Liz Jackson, founding member of The Disabled List

Gladys Jones Gladys Jones
Gladys Jones
Gladys Jones
CHAMPION FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS, STATEN ISLAND
Eceonthemove.com
Advocating for representation, fair pay, and benefits for thousands of family childcare professionals who provide essential services throughout NYC

Gladys is the co-founder of ECE on the Move, a group of more than 600 early childhood educators working in residential settings in New York City. Sometimes called “home-based childcare workers” or “family child care providers,” ECE on the Move uses the term “early childhood educators,” which more accurately reflects their many skills. Gladys and her co-founder, Doris Irizarry, spent years organizing providers, but eventually tired of the lack of respect and representation they saw in politics and policies affecting their industry. They formally established ECE on the Move in 2019 and have built a thriving community of early childhood educators mobilized for positive change.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Gladys Jones, co-founder of Early Childhood Educators on the Move

Carmen Mojica Carmen Mojica
Carmen Mojica
Carmen Mojica
MIDWIFE, BRONX
Twitter.com/parteranegra
Highlighting the interplay of maternal health and community in the Bronx with a bilingual program emphasizing childbirth education, reproductive literacy, and lifelong sexual health

Carmen is a fierce advocate for reproductive health and justice, specifically to improve care for women of color — especially for Black women who are twelve times more likely to die in childbirth than white women in New York City — and increase young people’s access to sexual education. Because care is rooted in community, Carmen frames the maternal health conversation as a responsibility for all New Yorkers.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Carmen Mojica, a midwife and advocate for reproductive health and justice

Robert Gore Robert Gore
Robert Gore
Robert Gore
DOCTOR, BROOKLYN
Kavibrooklyn.org | Instagram.com/siriema22
BRINGING TRAUMA-INFORMED METHODOLOGIES TO FRONTLINE CARE IN ORDER TO IMPROVE OUTCOMES FOR ALL NEW YORKERS

Robert Gore is an emergency physician and founder of the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI). Drawing from 7+ years of experience, Robert hopes to reach all NYC frontline workers — police officers, healthcare workers, educators, firefighters — with a new virtual training program in holistic care and trauma-informed response. Robert envisions a New York where providers and recipients of care have the tools to transform trauma, leading to better physical and mental health outcomes.

Suzette Brown Suzette Brown
Suzette Brown
Suzette Brown
DOCTOR, QUEENS
Strongchildrenwellness.com
INTEGRATING BEST-IN-CLASS PEDIATRIC CARE WITHIN TRUSTED SOCIAL SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS AND ALIGNING PAYMENTS TO HEALTH OUTCOMES

Suzette is a pediatrician seeking to transform the way healthcare is delivered in NYC’s marginalized communities by using a ‘reverse integration’ model of care. After working with a single mom of seven who had become homeless after fleeing domestic violence, Suzette was inspired to collaborate within the fragmented social service / mental health system to more holistically support families. The Strong Children Wellness model embeds pediatric clinics within existing community-based social service and mental health organizations so that a comprehensive team — not just doctors — can fully address the needs of children and families. Strong Children Wellness plans to pilot a value-based payment system for pediatric care that is tied to improved health and well-being outcomes.

Father Michael Lopez Father Michael Lopez
Father Michael Lopez
Father Michael Lopez
CATHOLIC PRIEST, QUEENS
Monkworx.org
BUILDING A FAITH-BASED BLUEPRINT TO ADDRESS FOOD INSECURITY AND PROVIDE TEMPORARY SHELTER

Father Michael Lopez is a Catholic priest and the creator of Hungry Monks, a mobile food pantry based in Ridgewood that exponentially increased service during the coronavirus pandemic. (If you’d asked 8-year-old Mike what kind of priest he would want to be, his answer probably would have been simply “a good one.”) Michael has transformed his church basement into a shelter — using a monastery model — and is creating a roadmap for other faith-based institutions to follow suit.

Sutton King Sutton King
Sutton King
Sutton King
ADVOCATE, CITYWIDE
Urbanindigenouscollective.org | Learn more here
INDIGENIZING EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURES AND ENSURING CULTURAL HUMILITY IN HEALTH AND WELLNESS SERVICES
More than 100K Native Americans live in New York City — making this the largest population of Urban Natives in the United States. Sutton founded the Urban Indigenous Collective to bring together and elevate the Indigenous population, create better access to health services, and build community.  
Manuel Castro Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
ORGANIZER, QUEENS
Nynice.org | Página en español
LEADING AN INNOVATIVE HUB OF WORKER CENTERS WHERE UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS CAN ACCESS SAFE AND FAIR PAYING JOBS

Manuel’s journey across the Mexico-US border at the age of five with his mother sparked a passion for helping others envision and find opportunity. As an early DREAMer – a movement of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children – Manuel now leads New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a grassroots organization that provides NYC’s day laborers and new immigrants with support services and leadership development programs. Manuel wants to test new ways of organizing this critical and essential workforce citywide around cooperative work and social and economic justice.

Antya Waegemann Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
DESIGNER, CITYWIDE
Redesignthekit.com
IMPROVING THE EXPERIENCE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS BY REDESIGNING THE EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS USED IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM AND BEYOND
Antya is a designer and advocate working at the intersection of survivors and health professionals in the aftermath of sexual assault.  In collaboration with co-founder Lona Vincent and an amazing community of non-profits, social workers, medical professionals, political leaders, and legal experts, Antya is working on an integrated resource – a redesigned sexual assault evidence kit and a digital app. For survivors, this project aims to improve accessibility, transparency and the experience of finding and getting kits. For healthcare providers, it will make it easier to administer kits, allowing them to provide better, trauma-informed care to patients in and out of the emergency room.
 
Marco Saavedra Marco Saavedra
Marco Saavedra
Marco Saavedra
BRIDGE BUILDER, BRONX
Lamoradanyc.com
CREATING A SANCTUARY FOR IMMIGRANTS OUT OF HIS FAMILY'S RESTAURANT IN THE SOUTH BRONX

Marco is a member of the Dream 9. Now he’s organizing in the South Bronx to benefit other immigrants, using his family’s restaurant La Morada as base camp for a community response team and gatherings to share knowledge and tools to fight ICE raids. The restaurant has become a true sanctuary space where undocumented people, families and allies can share, learn and eat. 

Akili Hinson Akili Hinson
Akili Hinson
Akili Hinson
DOCTOR, MANHATTAN
Juno.care
BUILDING A ONE-STOP SOLUTION OFFERING EVERYDAY FAMILY HEALTHCARE FOR THE 99%

Akili is building the new healthcare home New York City’s families. Juno Medical is a one-stop solution for you and your family’s everyday care needs that features exceptional hospitality, modern technology, and transparent prices that won’t break the bank. Akili and his team believe that great care is for everyone, so he’s set out to build a premier consumer healthcare brand that’s designed for the 99%.   

Ravi Ragbir Ravi Ragbir
Ravi Ragbir
Ravi Ragbir
CATALYST, BROOKLYN
Istandwithravi.org
Re-imagining freedom for people of color and immigrants targeted by unjust criminal and immigration systems by using the defense committee model to expand the idea of Sanctuary beyond physical space

Since his release from ICE custody, Ravi has worked tirelessly to stop deportations and expose a system confusing even to experts in the field of immigration rights. While leading protests and participating in vigils and civil disobedience around 26 Federal Plaza — ICE’s HQ — Ravi envisioned a plan to partner non-citizens with citizens who accompany them during immigration proceedings. In parallel, he built a legal clinic for those without representation. Ravi’s extensive network now includes committed citizens who rally, garner media attention, and re-imagine ‘protection’ for those at risk of deportation, educating the public and helping to keep thousands of people in the US.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of activist Ravi Ragbir

Darnell Benoit Darnell Benoit
Darnell Benoit
Darnell Benoit
EDUCATOR, BROOKLYN
Flanbwayan.org
Using technology to help newcomer immigrant youth build relationships, encounter unexpected influences, and engage in educational activities outside school

After 14 years as a New York City ESL instructor and frustrated by the lack of resources for immigrant students, Darnell Benoit founded Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project in 2005. FHLC fights for change in the NYC Public School System so that newcomer youth can receive necessary support — neither defined nor limited by discrimination, isolation, or language barriers. The Immigrant Youth Project (IYLP) will use technology to build a safe citywide support network where young immigrants can build relationships, encounter unexpected influences, and engage in educational activities outside school walls. Using dance, art, music, filmmaking, podcasts, book clubs, and leadership development activities, the IYLP will create new pathways for recent newcomers to co-create community and wellbeing.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Darnell Benoit, founder of Flanbwayan and advocate for immigrant youth city-wide

Cesar Vargas Cesar Vargas
Cesar Vargas
Cesar Vargas
DISRUPTOR, STATEN ISLAND
Read the latest on Cesar's work in this Gothamist article
Building a coalition to provide competent legal counsel to immigrants (and their families) serving in the Armed Forces as they navigate immigration and military law

More than half a million US veterans were born outside the United States, and nearly two million are US-born children of immigrants. Cesar Vargas was born in Mexico, grew up undocumented in the US, and went on to serve in the armed forces. Now the first undocumented lawyer in the country focuses on this nexus — working to ensure fair and accessible immigration services for active service members and veterans vulnerable to deportation.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Cesar Vargas, an advocate for immigrants serving in the military

Ana Maria Martinez de Luco Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
STREET SISTER, BROOKLYN
Instagram.com/ourhome_nyc
Developing a self-sustaining community of mobile homes for people in need, such as those experiencing homelessness, especially those who suffer from severe alcohol disorder

Ana Maria Martinez de Luco is a street nun who founded Sure We Can, a Brooklyn non-profit where people who survive by collecting cans and bottles come together with students and neighbors. Now Ana is launching Our Home, a project to build and support a community of tiny homes in New York City. Our Home is a lifeline for homeless individuals and others challenged by substance abuse and complex immigration profiles. Our Home residents thrive and regain control of their lives, thanks to the web of services and community supports provided. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Ana Maria Martinez de Luco, founder of Sure We Can and co-creator of Our Home

Edafe Okporo Edafe Okporo
Edafe Okporo
Edafe Okporo
ACTIVIST, MANHATTAN
Rdjrefugeeshelter.org
BRINGING HUMANITY TO HOMELESSNESS IN A SHELTER THAT PRIORITIZES COMMUNITY AND HEALING FOR REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS

Edafe is striving to end street homelessness through partnerships with faith institutions and with targeted advocacy. The RDJ Refugee Shelter is more than a shelter; it’s a space where asylum-seekers and immigrants can access community and start to rebuild their lives. There are currently 83,000 people looking for housing in NYC, and Edafe’s mission is to ensure every New Yorker can transition with dignity to safe housing.

Cielo Villa Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
ENTREPRENEUR, QUEENS
Instagram.com/road_to_uni | Facebook.com/roadtouni
REDEFINING COLLEGE GUIDANCE FOR YOUNG NEW YORKERS WHO ARE FIRST GENERATION, UNDOCUMENTED, AND / OR LACK CRITICAL RESOURCES

Cielo wants to ensure all marginalized NYC students can realize their college dreams — not just a lucky few with top test scores or leadership roles. Cielo is building an online resource called Road to Uni that will act as a supercharged, hyper-accessible college advisor, open to all and offering a gamified roadmap with quick informational videos, live support, and actionable resources to navigate the overwhelming college admissions process.

Maria Guadalupe Martinez Maria Guadalupe Martinez
Maria Guadalupe Martinez
Maria Guadalupe Martinez
EDUCATOR, MANHATTAN
Creany.org
EMPOWERING IMMIGRANT PARENTS TO WORK TOWARDS THEIR AMERICAN DREAMS AND SUPPORT THEIR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT

While serving as a PTA member at her children’s school, Maria developed a plan to help immigrant women gain access to education in the USA. This vision became Centro de Recursos Educativos para Adultos (CREA), a space in East Harlem offering adult literacy and education to parents across the five boroughs. The program currently serves 170+ people. More than an education platform, CREA equips parents with skills to become active participants in and advocates for their children’s growth.

Yin Kong Yin Kong
Yin Kong
Yin Kong
URBANIST, MANHATTAN
Thinkchinatown.org
BUILDING GENERATIONAL COMMUNITY IN CHINATOWN THROUGH CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, STORYTELLING AND THE ARTS

Yin believes Chinatown’s survival depends on the community’s ability to advocate for equal access to resources. Together with an intergenerational group of volunteers, she built Think!Chinatown, a non-profit focusing on neighborhood engagement fostered by storytelling and the arts. Through projects like Chinatown Arts Week, The Art of Storytelling, & Everyday Chinatown, T!C honors, explores, and presents the culture and history of the community that have long made NYC’s Chinatown a vibrant immigrant neighborhood. Guided by an older generation of Chinatown organizers, Yin directs community actions to address neighborhood issues. Yin dreams of hosting kitchen classes, artists residencies, art exhibits, & community workshops in a permanent space for and in Chinatown.

Somia Elrowmeim Somia Elrowmeim
Somia Elrowmeim
Somia Elrowmeim
ORGANIZER, BROOKLYN
Facebook.com/OfficialUAWNYC
BUILDING A COOPERATIVE FOR ARAB AMERICAN WOMEN THAT'S HALF BAKERY AND HALF AN EDUCATION, SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT ENGINE

Somia is a community organizer, educator, and advocate. Somia’s passion for empowering women and fighting for human rights began when she was a student leader at Sana’a University in Yemen, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mathematics. Since moving to New York City, Somia has led Arab women in south Brooklyn. Somia is launching a bakery that will double as an economic empowerment vehicle for Arab American women in their community. Structured as a cooperative, Somia’s social enterprise can become a blueprint for other affinity groups and neighborhoods that aspire to amplify their members’ talents to build economic assets.

Marco Saavedra Marco Saavedra
Marco Saavedra
Marco Saavedra
BRIDGE BUILDER, BRONX
Lamoradanyc.com
CREATING A SANCTUARY FOR IMMIGRANTS OUT OF HIS FAMILY'S RESTAURANT IN THE SOUTH BRONX

Marco is a member of the Dream 9. Now he’s organizing in the South Bronx to benefit other immigrants, using his family’s restaurant La Morada as base camp for a community response team and gatherings to share knowledge and tools to fight ICE raids. The restaurant has become a true sanctuary space where undocumented people, families and allies can share, learn and eat. 

Sharon Richardson Sharon Richardson
Sharon Richardson
Sharon Richardson
HEALER, MANHATTAN & QUEENS
Justsoulcatering.com | Reentryrocks.org
Dismantling barriers for formerly incarcerated survivors of domestic violence through creative arts, training, mentorship, and counseling

Sharon started Just Soul Catering in 2015, a small business that not only brings fantastic soul food to New York City, but also provides jobs, education, and advocacy to its formerly incarcerated woman identified and non binary participants . Just Soul Catering works in tandem with Re-Entry Rocks which offers a full array of services, from dance focused on healing to entrepreneurship preparation and incubation and from mentorship to training in food preparation and event set-up. Sharon and her team have created a close community dedicated to addressing the unique issues faced by survivors of both domestic violence and incarceration.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Sharon Richardson, founder of Just Soul Catering and Re-Entry Rocks

Shams DaBaron Shams DaBaron
Shams DaBaron
Shams DaBaron
ACTIVIST, MANHATTAN
Politico.com/MayoralHopefulsFaceQuestionsonHomelessness
Advocating for homeless New Yorkers by working with advocates, elected officials, shelter providers, non-profits, and policymakers to build more housing and knock out the roots of homelessness

Shams, dubbed ‘Da Homeless Hero,’ knows NYC’s homeless system from the inside, having experienced homelessness since the age of 10, even raising his son in the family shelter system toward graduation and a high school diploma. Shams has led the conversation regarding the Lucerne Hotel, designated a temporary shelter during the pandemic to public outcry. Whether brokering mayoral conversations or detailing the policies and services necessary to support vulnerable New Yorkers, Shams is a relentless advocate, speaking with those directly impacted, elected officials, faith leaders — anyone who will listen. He’s a bridge builder, a strong voice at the table, and the accountability watchdog the city didn’t know it needed.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Shams DaBaron, an advocate fighting for dignified housing for people experiencing houselessness

Ravi Ragbir Ravi Ragbir
Ravi Ragbir
Ravi Ragbir
CATALYST, BROOKLYN
Istandwithravi.org
Re-imagining freedom for people of color and immigrants targeted by unjust criminal and immigration systems by using the defense committee model to expand the idea of Sanctuary beyond physical space

Since his release from ICE custody, Ravi has worked tirelessly to stop deportations and expose a system confusing even to experts in the field of immigration rights. While leading protests and participating in vigils and civil disobedience around 26 Federal Plaza — ICE’s HQ — Ravi envisioned a plan to partner non-citizens with citizens who accompany them during immigration proceedings. In parallel, he built a legal clinic for those without representation. Ravi’s extensive network now includes committed citizens who rally, garner media attention, and re-imagine ‘protection’ for those at risk of deportation, educating the public and helping to keep thousands of people in the US.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of activist Ravi Ragbir

Mr. Five Mualimm-ak Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
ORGANIZER, MANHATTAN & BRONX
Incarceratednationnetwork.org
Bridging the gap of services for justice impacted young adults serving multi-year community supervision sentences within NYC, YAPP trains, mentors, employs, and houses NYC’s future

Five is a long-time advocate within the criminal justice space who has authored policies to reduce solitary confinement, founded Incarcerated Nation, and spent decades collaborating with anti-prison organizations in New York and across the country. Now he is launching the Youth Anti Prison Project, recognizing severe gaps in the system of long-term community supervision and support for youth coming home from prison. The project mentors, trains, houses and employs justice-impacted young adults through a variety of academies that last throughout their community supervision sentences, using expert trauma-informed care to give these often forgotten youth a real second chance.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Five Mualimm-ak, founder of Incarcerated Nation

Michael Angelo Roberson Michael Angelo Roberson
Michael Angelo Roberson
Michael Angelo Roberson
THEOLOGIAN, BROOKLYN
Watch Michael's Ted Talk to learn more about his work
Uplifting the House Ball scene as a beloved community of Black/Latinx LGBT folks through radical education, chosen family, and public health advocacy

Michael believes that ballroom can speak profound truths about humanity and struggle. The Freedom School, named after the late great Ballroom Icon, Arbert Santana, strives to be a beloved community in the old sense — not an ordinary brick and mortar institution, but a forum to channel events, literature and pedagogy, leadership, mentorship, and identity for NYC’s Black / Latinx / LGBT ballroom family.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Michael Angelo Roberson, an advocate working towards the invigoration of the House Ball scene

Liz Jackson Liz Jackson
Liz Jackson
Liz Jackson
TROUBLEMAKER, BROOKLYN
Linktr.ee/eejackson
Redesigning the diagnostic process for chronic, invisible illnesses, by centering the knowledge of ill people and communities

Medical diagnoses are seen as final answers, deduced by all-knowing medical professionals who translate symptoms into objective clinical signs and accredited illnesses. Within this framework there is little room for chronically, invisibly ill patients whose symptoms do not readily translate into those signs. Their desire to be diagnosed is often regarded with suspicion and equated with a desire to be sick. But for many chronically ill people, including Liz, diagnosis means gaining access to the language of their body, learning how to recognize and respond to its needs, and work with it rather than constantly fighting against it. For this reason, Liz wants to compile, analyze and map the nuanced body-languages of chronically ill New Yorkers, and use them to create tools that not only support undiagnosed people to recognize and understand events within their own bodies, but also change the way we think about diagnosis itself.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Liz Jackson, founding member of The Disabled List

Gabrielle Prisco Gabrielle Prisco
Gabrielle Prisco
Gabrielle Prisco
CONNECTOR, BROOKLYN
Lineageproject.org
Building The Core Collective, an intentional community - both a physical space housing a “one-stop center” designed by and for young people, and a nonprofit collaborative offering co-working space, administrative support, and shared resources for a curated group of NYC-based nonprofits that work with young people

Creative connector and nonprofit leader Gabrielle Prisco has spent nearly twenty years working with young people—as an attorney, policy advocate, and Co-Executive Director of a nonprofit teaching trauma-sensitive mindfulness to young people inside NYC systems. Throughout, she’s seen young people—particularly Black and brown young people—systematically failed by our city, and “youth” nonprofits routinely stretched beyond capacity.  

 

Gabrielle’s vision partners young people and nonprofit leaders in The Core Collective: a holistic “one-stop” community center for young people and shared home for a curated group of smaller NYC “youth” nonprofits. When young people arrive, what they need will be there—from art, coding, and entrepreneurial support to legal and medical services. Simultaneously, resident nonprofits will benefit from daily proximity to youth and one another, and from shared space, fundraising, and administrative staff—freeing them to be more mission-focused. Ultimately, Gabrielle envisions a public-private partnership to secure a building for the center and income-generating rentals.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Gabrielle Prisco, Co-Executive Director of The Lineage Project

Felicia Wilson Felicia Wilson
Felicia Wilson
Felicia Wilson
MENTOR, BROOKLYN
Wauinc.org
Advocating for youth and young adults transitioning out of the NYC foster care system to receive the resources and supports needed to thrive through the lens of an alumna -- from financial literacy and housing, to mental healthcare and life skills training

Felicia has dedicated her life to supporting young people within and aging out of New York City’s foster care system. Raised in care from the age of four, Felicia knows the power of targeted, high quality services. Her new non-profit, What About Us, will provide mentoring, financial management training, job training and placement, and mental health support. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Felicia Wilson, founder of What About Us and advocate for youth in foster care

Ana Maria Martinez de Luco Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
STREET SISTER, BROOKLYN
Instagram.com/ourhome_nyc
Developing a self-sustaining community of mobile homes for people in need, such as those experiencing homelessness, especially those who suffer from severe alcohol disorder

Ana Maria Martinez de Luco is a street nun who founded Sure We Can, a Brooklyn non-profit where people who survive by collecting cans and bottles come together with students and neighbors. Now Ana is launching Our Home, a project to build and support a community of tiny homes in New York City. Our Home is a lifeline for homeless individuals and others challenged by substance abuse and complex immigration profiles. Our Home residents thrive and regain control of their lives, thanks to the web of services and community supports provided. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Ana Maria Martinez de Luco, founder of Sure We Can and co-creator of Our Home

Robert Gore Robert Gore
Robert Gore
Robert Gore
DOCTOR, BROOKLYN
Kavibrooklyn.org | Instagram.com/siriema22
BRINGING TRAUMA-INFORMED METHODOLOGIES TO FRONTLINE CARE IN ORDER TO IMPROVE OUTCOMES FOR ALL NEW YORKERS

Robert Gore is an emergency physician and founder of the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI). Drawing from 7+ years of experience, Robert hopes to reach all NYC frontline workers — police officers, healthcare workers, educators, firefighters — with a new virtual training program in holistic care and trauma-informed response. Robert envisions a New York where providers and recipients of care have the tools to transform trauma, leading to better physical and mental health outcomes.

Suzette Brown Suzette Brown
Suzette Brown
Suzette Brown
DOCTOR, QUEENS
Strongchildrenwellness.com
INTEGRATING BEST-IN-CLASS PEDIATRIC CARE WITHIN TRUSTED SOCIAL SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS AND ALIGNING PAYMENTS TO HEALTH OUTCOMES

Suzette is a pediatrician seeking to transform the way healthcare is delivered in NYC’s marginalized communities by using a ‘reverse integration’ model of care. After working with a single mom of seven who had become homeless after fleeing domestic violence, Suzette was inspired to collaborate within the fragmented social service / mental health system to more holistically support families. The Strong Children Wellness model embeds pediatric clinics within existing community-based social service and mental health organizations so that a comprehensive team — not just doctors — can fully address the needs of children and families. Strong Children Wellness plans to pilot a value-based payment system for pediatric care that is tied to improved health and well-being outcomes.

Edafe Okporo Edafe Okporo
Edafe Okporo
Edafe Okporo
ACTIVIST, MANHATTAN
Rdjrefugeeshelter.org
BRINGING HUMANITY TO HOMELESSNESS IN A SHELTER THAT PRIORITIZES COMMUNITY AND HEALING FOR REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS

Edafe is striving to end street homelessness through partnerships with faith institutions and with targeted advocacy. The RDJ Refugee Shelter is more than a shelter; it’s a space where asylum-seekers and immigrants can access community and start to rebuild their lives. There are currently 83,000 people looking for housing in NYC, and Edafe’s mission is to ensure every New Yorker can transition with dignity to safe housing.

Sutton King Sutton King
Sutton King
Sutton King
ADVOCATE, CITYWIDE
Urbanindigenouscollective.org | Learn more here
INDIGENIZING EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURES AND ENSURING CULTURAL HUMILITY IN HEALTH AND WELLNESS SERVICES
More than 100K Native Americans live in New York City — making this the largest population of Urban Natives in the United States. Sutton founded the Urban Indigenous Collective to bring together and elevate the Indigenous population, create better access to health services, and build community.  
Stefan Henry Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Levelthecurve.com
MAKING NEW YORK CITY MORE ACCESSIBLE WITH USER-FRIENDLY, BEAUTIFUL TOOLS TO AID PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Stefan is a user-centric designer who wants to make it easier for people with disabilities to thrive in New York City. Stefan and his team have developed tools that make a variety of daily tasks more accessible, like an easy- to-deploy lightweight wheelchair ramp; a multipurpose eating utensil; and an arm-support to help users play video games. His vision is simple: achieve accessibility and independence for people with disabilities by re-imagining everyday devices.

Chino Hardin Chino Hardin
Chino Hardin
Chino Hardin
ORGANIZER, BROOKLYN
Nuleadership.org | Bklynboihood.com
DISRUPTING THE CYCLE OF MASS INCARCERATION AND INEQUITY BY CONNECTING THOSE IMPACTED TO NATURE AND INDIGENOUS & BLACK HEALING PRACTICES

Chino’s lived experience as a formerly incarcerated, Black and Indiginous Trans person provides deep inspiration for NuLegacy, a program designed to support Black, Indigenous, Queer & Trans New Yorkers whose lives have been devastated by prison involvement.  His radical idea?  To use ancestral healing practices and connect folks — sometimes for the first time — to nature.  For the last 20 years, Chino has taught youth and families in Bedstuy that stewardship of land and community can lead to healing and transformation.

Troy Walcott Troy Walcott
Troy Walcott
Troy Walcott
STRIKER, BROOKLYN
Peopleschoice.coop
Striking Spectrum workers launching a cooperative to build community-owned broadband networks that bridge the digital divide for 2.2 million low-income New Yorkers

Troy, a long-time Spectrum worker, led a strike when the company erased employee benefits after its purchase by Time Warner. Today, he’s organizing that same coalition to build a new kind of high speed internet service provider — one that serves low income communities and leverages state-of-the-art technology to minimize costly hardline construction. He envisions including the community in  network ownership, giving marginalized neighborhoods control and increased economic independence.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Troy Walcott, founder of People’s Choice Internet

Sharon Richardson Sharon Richardson
Sharon Richardson
Sharon Richardson
HEALER, MANHATTAN & QUEENS
Justsoulcatering.com | Reentryrocks.org
Dismantling barriers for formerly incarcerated survivors of domestic violence through creative arts, training, mentorship, and counseling

Sharon started Just Soul Catering in 2015, a small business that not only brings fantastic soul food to New York City, but also provides jobs, education, and advocacy to its formerly incarcerated woman identified and non binary participants . Just Soul Catering works in tandem with Re-Entry Rocks which offers a full array of services, from dance focused on healing to entrepreneurship preparation and incubation and from mentorship to training in food preparation and event set-up. Sharon and her team have created a close community dedicated to addressing the unique issues faced by survivors of both domestic violence and incarceration.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Sharon Richardson, founder of Just Soul Catering and Re-Entry Rocks

Mr. Five Mualimm-ak Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
Mr. Five Mualimm-ak
ORGANIZER, MANHATTAN & BRONX
Incarceratednationnetwork.org
Bridging the gap of services for justice impacted young adults serving multi-year community supervision sentences within NYC, YAPP trains, mentors, employs, and houses NYC’s future

Five is a long-time advocate within the criminal justice space who has authored policies to reduce solitary confinement, founded Incarcerated Nation, and spent decades collaborating with anti-prison organizations in New York and across the country. Now he is launching the Youth Anti Prison Project, recognizing severe gaps in the system of long-term community supervision and support for youth coming home from prison. The project mentors, trains, houses and employs justice-impacted young adults through a variety of academies that last throughout their community supervision sentences, using expert trauma-informed care to give these often forgotten youth a real second chance.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Five Mualimm-ak, founder of Incarcerated Nation

Ken Lewis Ken Lewis
Ken Lewis
Ken Lewis
COOPERATOR, BROOKLYN
Drivers.coop
Building an ethical, driver-centered ride-hailing company to help 50,000 plus NYC rideshare drivers build economic stability and transform the for hire industry

Ken is a founder of The Driver’s Cooperative, which operates Coop-Ride, a new ride hailing taxi service. Coop-Ride is owned by the drivers who are involved in democratically running their Company.  Drivers pay just 15% on fares and profits will be shared among member-owners. Ken has spent most of his working life in New York City passenger transportation, including at signature programs as Access-A-Ride and EZPass.  Like many of his fellow immigrants, he started life in NY as a cab driver and drives to this day. Along the way, he has seen this once respected occupation — a pathway to the American Dream for countless immigrants — become decimated by exploitative ride-hailing giants. Coop-Ride, is not only an innovative ride-hailing service, but also a movement to transform drivers’ economic circumstances and restore dignity to New York’s driver community. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Ken Lewis, founder of The Drivers Cooperative

Gladys Jones Gladys Jones
Gladys Jones
Gladys Jones
CHAMPION FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS, STATEN ISLAND
Eceonthemove.com
Advocating for representation, fair pay, and benefits for thousands of family childcare professionals who provide essential services throughout NYC

Gladys is the co-founder of ECE on the Move, a group of more than 600 early childhood educators working in residential settings in New York City. Sometimes called “home-based childcare workers” or “family child care providers,” ECE on the Move uses the term “early childhood educators,” which more accurately reflects their many skills. Gladys and her co-founder, Doris Irizarry, spent years organizing providers, but eventually tired of the lack of respect and representation they saw in politics and policies affecting their industry. They formally established ECE on the Move in 2019 and have built a thriving community of early childhood educators mobilized for positive change.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Gladys Jones, co-founder of Early Childhood Educators on the Move

Laundromat Owner and Visionary Laundromat Owner and Visionary
Laundromat Owner and Visionary
Laundromat Owner and Visionary
ENTREPRENEUR, BROOKLYN
UTILIZING A LOCAL LAUNDROMAT AS A HUB FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
This Brooklynite is using her laundromat business to empower domestic violence victims, offering free wash-and-folds, clothing drives, and job training. Her initiative creates a roadmap for transforming other everyday New York storefronts into incubators of social change.
 
Su Sanni Su Sanni
Su Sanni
Su Sanni
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Dollaride.com
RE-IMAGINING TRANSIT DESERTS AND EASING COMMUTES BY IMPROVING ACCESS TO DOLLAR VAN DRIVERS

Su is transforming urban transit for the many New Yorkers without access to the city’s public transportation system. Dollaride eases the connection between riders and vans-for-hire with transparent routes, consistent schedules, and mobile payments. Su hopes to connect the extensive dollar van network to existing public infrastructure and expand their territory to improve economic mobility.

Manuel Castro Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
ORGANIZER, QUEENS
Nynice.org | Página en español
LEADING AN INNOVATIVE HUB OF WORKER CENTERS WHERE UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS CAN ACCESS SAFE AND FAIR PAYING JOBS

Manuel’s journey across the Mexico-US border at the age of five with his mother sparked a passion for helping others envision and find opportunity. As an early DREAMer – a movement of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children – Manuel now leads New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a grassroots organization that provides NYC’s day laborers and new immigrants with support services and leadership development programs. Manuel wants to test new ways of organizing this critical and essential workforce citywide around cooperative work and social and economic justice.

Somia Elrowmeim Somia Elrowmeim
Somia Elrowmeim
Somia Elrowmeim
ORGANIZER, BROOKLYN
Facebook.com/OfficialUAWNYC
BUILDING A COOPERATIVE FOR ARAB AMERICAN WOMEN THAT'S HALF BAKERY AND HALF AN EDUCATION, SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT ENGINE

Somia is a community organizer, educator, and advocate. Somia’s passion for empowering women and fighting for human rights began when she was a student leader at Sana’a University in Yemen, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mathematics. Since moving to New York City, Somia has led Arab women in south Brooklyn. Somia is launching a bakery that will double as an economic empowerment vehicle for Arab American women in their community. Structured as a cooperative, Somia’s social enterprise can become a blueprint for other affinity groups and neighborhoods that aspire to amplify their members’ talents to build economic assets.

Shams DaBaron Shams DaBaron
Shams DaBaron
Shams DaBaron
ACTIVIST, MANHATTAN
Politico.com/MayoralHopefulsFaceQuestionsonHomelessness
Advocating for homeless New Yorkers by working with advocates, elected officials, shelter providers, non-profits, and policymakers to build more housing and knock out the roots of homelessness

Shams, dubbed ‘Da Homeless Hero,’ knows NYC’s homeless system from the inside, having experienced homelessness since the age of 10, even raising his son in the family shelter system toward graduation and a high school diploma. Shams has led the conversation regarding the Lucerne Hotel, designated a temporary shelter during the pandemic to public outcry. Whether brokering mayoral conversations or detailing the policies and services necessary to support vulnerable New Yorkers, Shams is a relentless advocate, speaking with those directly impacted, elected officials, faith leaders — anyone who will listen. He’s a bridge builder, a strong voice at the table, and the accountability watchdog the city didn’t know it needed.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Shams DaBaron, an advocate fighting for dignified housing for people experiencing houselessness

Kristin Wallace Kristin Wallace
Kristin Wallace
Kristin Wallace
AMPLIFIER, STATEN ISLAND
Makerparkradio.nyc
Creating a platform to teach empathy and understanding of our neighbors in Staten Island -- New York’s forgotten borough

By illuminating the lore and culture of Staten Island via a media hub and FM radio station, Kristin wants to increase appreciation for the many cultures and neighborhoods of NYC’s most outer borough.  She gives the tools and mic to Staten Islanders to amplify their special stories, culture, and artistic talents. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Kristin Wallace, founder of MakerPark Radio

Felicia Wilson Felicia Wilson
Felicia Wilson
Felicia Wilson
MENTOR, BROOKLYN
Wauinc.org
Advocating for youth and young adults transitioning out of the NYC foster care system to receive the resources and supports needed to thrive through the lens of an alumna -- from financial literacy and housing, to mental healthcare and life skills training

Felicia has dedicated her life to supporting young people within and aging out of New York City’s foster care system. Raised in care from the age of four, Felicia knows the power of targeted, high quality services. Her new non-profit, What About Us, will provide mentoring, financial management training, job training and placement, and mental health support. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Felicia Wilson, founder of What About Us and advocate for youth in foster care

Caridad De La Luz Caridad De La Luz
Caridad De La Luz
Caridad De La Luz
POET, BRONX
Instagram.com/labrujaNYC
Using the power of spoken word and indigenous practices to uplift, unify, and heal diasporic Puerto Rican, LGBTQ and BIPOC at “El Garaje” - a 1920s trucking garage in the Bronx that doubles as an art and wellness cultivation center

Caridad is a Bronx native, world-renowned spoken word artist known as “La Bruja,” who transformed a 100-year old garage behind her home into a cultural, art, and spiritual center. She envisions El Garaje as a site for creative residencies, learning and projection projects, and a sanctuary space for indigenous artists, activists, and practitioners. After opening its doors in 2016, she learned that it is built on what once was a Siwanoy village called Snakapins. Ultimately, the vision is for El Garaje to become a historic site and beacon from which a new village can emerge in the Soundview section of The Bronx.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Caridad de la Luz, also known as La Bruja, founder of a community art space in Soundview, Bronx called El Garaje

Ana Maria Martinez de Luco Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
Ana Maria Martinez de Luco
STREET SISTER, BROOKLYN
Instagram.com/ourhome_nyc
Developing a self-sustaining community of mobile homes for people in need, such as those experiencing homelessness, especially those who suffer from severe alcohol disorder

Ana Maria Martinez de Luco is a street nun who founded Sure We Can, a Brooklyn non-profit where people who survive by collecting cans and bottles come together with students and neighbors. Now Ana is launching Our Home, a project to build and support a community of tiny homes in New York City. Our Home is a lifeline for homeless individuals and others challenged by substance abuse and complex immigration profiles. Our Home residents thrive and regain control of their lives, thanks to the web of services and community supports provided. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Ana Maria Martinez de Luco, founder of Sure We Can and co-creator of Our Home

Father Michael Lopez Father Michael Lopez
Father Michael Lopez
Father Michael Lopez
CATHOLIC PRIEST, QUEENS
Monkworx.org
BUILDING A FAITH-BASED BLUEPRINT TO ADDRESS FOOD INSECURITY AND PROVIDE TEMPORARY SHELTER

Father Michael Lopez is a Catholic priest and the creator of Hungry Monks, a mobile food pantry based in Ridgewood that exponentially increased service during the coronavirus pandemic. (If you’d asked 8-year-old Mike what kind of priest he would want to be, his answer probably would have been simply “a good one.”) Michael has transformed his church basement into a shelter — using a monastery model — and is creating a roadmap for other faith-based institutions to follow suit.

Laundromat Owner and Visionary Laundromat Owner and Visionary
Laundromat Owner and Visionary
Laundromat Owner and Visionary
ENTREPRENEUR, BROOKLYN
UTILIZING A LOCAL LAUNDROMAT AS A HUB FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
This Brooklynite is using her laundromat business to empower domestic violence victims, offering free wash-and-folds, clothing drives, and job training. Her initiative creates a roadmap for transforming other everyday New York storefronts into incubators of social change.
 
Yin Kong Yin Kong
Yin Kong
Yin Kong
URBANIST, MANHATTAN
Thinkchinatown.org
BUILDING GENERATIONAL COMMUNITY IN CHINATOWN THROUGH CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, STORYTELLING AND THE ARTS

Yin believes Chinatown’s survival depends on the community’s ability to advocate for equal access to resources. Together with an intergenerational group of volunteers, she built Think!Chinatown, a non-profit focusing on neighborhood engagement fostered by storytelling and the arts. Through projects like Chinatown Arts Week, The Art of Storytelling, & Everyday Chinatown, T!C honors, explores, and presents the culture and history of the community that have long made NYC’s Chinatown a vibrant immigrant neighborhood. Guided by an older generation of Chinatown organizers, Yin directs community actions to address neighborhood issues. Yin dreams of hosting kitchen classes, artists residencies, art exhibits, & community workshops in a permanent space for and in Chinatown.

Su Sanni Su Sanni
Su Sanni
Su Sanni
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Dollaride.com
RE-IMAGINING TRANSIT DESERTS AND EASING COMMUTES BY IMPROVING ACCESS TO DOLLAR VAN DRIVERS

Su is transforming urban transit for the many New Yorkers without access to the city’s public transportation system. Dollaride eases the connection between riders and vans-for-hire with transparent routes, consistent schedules, and mobile payments. Su hopes to connect the extensive dollar van network to existing public infrastructure and expand their territory to improve economic mobility.

Rasmia Kirmani-Frye Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
Rasmia Kirmani-Frye
CONNECTOR, CITY-WIDE
Twitter.com/rasmiakf | Instagram.com/rasmiak
BUILDING TRUST TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC HOUSING IN NEW YORK CITY BY CENTERING RESIDENTS AND CREATING, SOMETIMES, UNLIKELY PARTNERSHIPS

One in 15 New Yorkers lives in public housing — many of them the public servants who keep New York City safe and vibrant. But too often this huge and critical system is overlooked or given up as an intractable problem. Rasmia wants to reinvent our public housing system by building networks from generative, community-centered relationships to embrace “truth and reconciliation,” and develop real action plans to change the system. 

Manuel Castro Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
ORGANIZER, QUEENS
Nynice.org | Página en español
LEADING AN INNOVATIVE HUB OF WORKER CENTERS WHERE UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS CAN ACCESS SAFE AND FAIR PAYING JOBS

Manuel’s journey across the Mexico-US border at the age of five with his mother sparked a passion for helping others envision and find opportunity. As an early DREAMer – a movement of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children – Manuel now leads New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a grassroots organization that provides NYC’s day laborers and new immigrants with support services and leadership development programs. Manuel wants to test new ways of organizing this critical and essential workforce citywide around cooperative work and social and economic justice.

Somia Elrowmeim Somia Elrowmeim
Somia Elrowmeim
Somia Elrowmeim
ORGANIZER, BROOKLYN
Facebook.com/OfficialUAWNYC
BUILDING A COOPERATIVE FOR ARAB AMERICAN WOMEN THAT'S HALF BAKERY AND HALF AN EDUCATION, SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT ENGINE

Somia is a community organizer, educator, and advocate. Somia’s passion for empowering women and fighting for human rights began when she was a student leader at Sana’a University in Yemen, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mathematics. Since moving to New York City, Somia has led Arab women in south Brooklyn. Somia is launching a bakery that will double as an economic empowerment vehicle for Arab American women in their community. Structured as a cooperative, Somia’s social enterprise can become a blueprint for other affinity groups and neighborhoods that aspire to amplify their members’ talents to build economic assets.

Akili Hinson Akili Hinson
Akili Hinson
Akili Hinson
DOCTOR, MANHATTAN
Juno.care
BUILDING A ONE-STOP SOLUTION OFFERING EVERYDAY FAMILY HEALTHCARE FOR THE 99%

Akili is building the new healthcare home New York City’s families. Juno Medical is a one-stop solution for you and your family’s everyday care needs that features exceptional hospitality, modern technology, and transparent prices that won’t break the bank. Akili and his team believe that great care is for everyone, so he’s set out to build a premier consumer healthcare brand that’s designed for the 99%.   

Domingo Morales Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
COMPOST GURU, CITYWIDE
Instagram.com/CompostPower
REUSING NEW YORK CITY'S ORGANIC WASTE AND MAKING IT COOL TO COMPOST

One third of NYC’s trash is organic — but too often this useful waste gets wasted. Domingo is working to solve this problem and grow plants for New York’s tomorrow. And after managing Red Hook Farms’s composting operation, he’s an expert in food chemistry, safe and healthy composting habits, and teaching others to make it happen. Domingo is developing a ‘how to’ compost guide and launching a new podcast called Compost Power to share expertise in support of composting processes around the city. 

Yin Q Yin Q
Yin Q
Yin Q
CREATRIX, CITY-WIDE
Bodyofworkers.com | Yinq.net
Developing Body of Workers, a platform for sharing art, stories, and media by and for artists and content makers in the sex industries

Yin Q creates spaces and platforms to advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers through art, storytelling, and celebration. She is the founder of Kink Out and is a core member of Red Canary Song and AAPI grassroots collective that organizes migrant massage and sex workers and connects them to medical, legal, and mutual aid. Yin’s new idea — Body of Workers — will be an online ‘backstage’ for sex workers to create, share, and build community.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Yin Q, an advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers

Troy Walcott Troy Walcott
Troy Walcott
Troy Walcott
STRIKER, BROOKLYN
Peopleschoice.coop
Striking Spectrum workers launching a cooperative to build community-owned broadband networks that bridge the digital divide for 2.2 million low-income New Yorkers

Troy, a long-time Spectrum worker, led a strike when the company erased employee benefits after its purchase by Time Warner. Today, he’s organizing that same coalition to build a new kind of high speed internet service provider — one that serves low income communities and leverages state-of-the-art technology to minimize costly hardline construction. He envisions including the community in  network ownership, giving marginalized neighborhoods control and increased economic independence.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Troy Walcott, founder of People’s Choice Internet

Liz Jackson Liz Jackson
Liz Jackson
Liz Jackson
TROUBLEMAKER, BROOKLYN
Linktr.ee/eejackson
Redesigning the diagnostic process for chronic, invisible illnesses, by centering the knowledge of ill people and communities

Medical diagnoses are seen as final answers, deduced by all-knowing medical professionals who translate symptoms into objective clinical signs and accredited illnesses. Within this framework there is little room for chronically, invisibly ill patients whose symptoms do not readily translate into those signs. Their desire to be diagnosed is often regarded with suspicion and equated with a desire to be sick. But for many chronically ill people, including Liz, diagnosis means gaining access to the language of their body, learning how to recognize and respond to its needs, and work with it rather than constantly fighting against it. For this reason, Liz wants to compile, analyze and map the nuanced body-languages of chronically ill New Yorkers, and use them to create tools that not only support undiagnosed people to recognize and understand events within their own bodies, but also change the way we think about diagnosis itself.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Liz Jackson, founding member of The Disabled List

Ken Lewis Ken Lewis
Ken Lewis
Ken Lewis
COOPERATOR, BROOKLYN
Drivers.coop
Building an ethical, driver-centered ride-hailing company to help 50,000 plus NYC rideshare drivers build economic stability and transform the for hire industry

Ken is a founder of The Driver’s Cooperative, which operates Coop-Ride, a new ride hailing taxi service. Coop-Ride is owned by the drivers who are involved in democratically running their Company.  Drivers pay just 15% on fares and profits will be shared among member-owners. Ken has spent most of his working life in New York City passenger transportation, including at signature programs as Access-A-Ride and EZPass.  Like many of his fellow immigrants, he started life in NY as a cab driver and drives to this day. Along the way, he has seen this once respected occupation — a pathway to the American Dream for countless immigrants — become decimated by exploitative ride-hailing giants. Coop-Ride, is not only an innovative ride-hailing service, but also a movement to transform drivers’ economic circumstances and restore dignity to New York’s driver community. 

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Ken Lewis, founder of The Drivers Cooperative

Jaime-Jin Lewis Jaime-Jin Lewis
Jaime-Jin Lewis
Jaime-Jin Lewis
INNOVATOR, BROOKLYN
Wiggleroomnow.com | Twitter.com/jaimejin
Fighting for a more durable and dynamic childcare system where providers, families, and children thrive

Jaime-Jin Lewis envisions a New York where every parent has access to affordable, quality childcare; every child is surrounded by a caring community; and the majority-woman-powered workforce of childcare providers enjoys dignified jobs with fair pay. She founded Wiggle Room to innovate solutions toward these goals. Jaime-Jin organized #WorkersNeedChildcare, a hotline to help essential workers navigate childcare during the pandemic, and #CareTogetherNYC, a mutual aid project to disburse cash assistance to essential workers with untenable childcare costs due to school and daycare closures. She is currently launching a new platform that connects two overlooked communities: parents who work fluctuating, hourly jobs and home-based childcare providers.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Jaime-Jin Lewis, founder of Wiggle Room, a platform to make childcare more accessible for NYC families

Su Sanni Su Sanni
Su Sanni
Su Sanni
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Dollaride.com
RE-IMAGINING TRANSIT DESERTS AND EASING COMMUTES BY IMPROVING ACCESS TO DOLLAR VAN DRIVERS

Su is transforming urban transit for the many New Yorkers without access to the city’s public transportation system. Dollaride eases the connection between riders and vans-for-hire with transparent routes, consistent schedules, and mobile payments. Su hopes to connect the extensive dollar van network to existing public infrastructure and expand their territory to improve economic mobility.

Stefan Henry Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
Stefan Henry
ENTREPRENEUR, CITYWIDE
Levelthecurve.com
MAKING NEW YORK CITY MORE ACCESSIBLE WITH USER-FRIENDLY, BEAUTIFUL TOOLS TO AID PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Stefan is a user-centric designer who wants to make it easier for people with disabilities to thrive in New York City. Stefan and his team have developed tools that make a variety of daily tasks more accessible, like an easy- to-deploy lightweight wheelchair ramp; a multipurpose eating utensil; and an arm-support to help users play video games. His vision is simple: achieve accessibility and independence for people with disabilities by re-imagining everyday devices.

Deborah Navarro Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
Deborah Navarro
TECHNOLOGIST, CITYWIDE
Lightly.me | View tech in action
CREATING EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE TRANSIT SOLUTIONS FOR NYC USING AIR LEVITATION TECHNOLOGY

Deborah is a leader in air-levitation technology designed to autonomously move goods and people from one point to the next. (Cred: she won Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition after being told she didn’t qualify). Deborah is taking this technology to the streets to reimagine the way New Yorkers move through the city — safely, quickly, and with low carbon emissions. She aims to create a community driven transportation revolution that empowers New Yorkers to be a part of the conversation and design.

Yin Q Yin Q
Yin Q
Yin Q
CREATRIX, CITY-WIDE
Bodyofworkers.com | Yinq.net
Developing Body of Workers, a platform for sharing art, stories, and media by and for artists and content makers in the sex industries

Yin Q creates spaces and platforms to advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers through art, storytelling, and celebration. She is the founder of Kink Out and is a core member of Red Canary Song and AAPI grassroots collective that organizes migrant massage and sex workers and connects them to medical, legal, and mutual aid. Yin’s new idea — Body of Workers — will be an online ‘backstage’ for sex workers to create, share, and build community.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Yin Q, an advocate for the dignity and rights of all sex workers

Sharon Richardson Sharon Richardson
Sharon Richardson
Sharon Richardson
HEALER, MANHATTAN & QUEENS
Justsoulcatering.com | Reentryrocks.org
Dismantling barriers for formerly incarcerated survivors of domestic violence through creative arts, training, mentorship, and counseling

Sharon started Just Soul Catering in 2015, a small business that not only brings fantastic soul food to New York City, but also provides jobs, education, and advocacy to its formerly incarcerated woman identified and non binary participants . Just Soul Catering works in tandem with Re-Entry Rocks which offers a full array of services, from dance focused on healing to entrepreneurship preparation and incubation and from mentorship to training in food preparation and event set-up. Sharon and her team have created a close community dedicated to addressing the unique issues faced by survivors of both domestic violence and incarceration.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Sharon Richardson, founder of Just Soul Catering and Re-Entry Rocks

Michael Angelo Roberson Michael Angelo Roberson
Michael Angelo Roberson
Michael Angelo Roberson
THEOLOGIAN, BROOKLYN
Watch Michael's Ted Talk to learn more about his work
Uplifting the House Ball scene as a beloved community of Black/Latinx LGBT folks through radical education, chosen family, and public health advocacy

Michael believes that ballroom can speak profound truths about humanity and struggle. The Freedom School, named after the late great Ballroom Icon, Arbert Santana, strives to be a beloved community in the old sense — not an ordinary brick and mortar institution, but a forum to channel events, literature and pedagogy, leadership, mentorship, and identity for NYC’s Black / Latinx / LGBT ballroom family.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Michael Angelo Roberson, an advocate working towards the invigoration of the House Ball scene

Fela Barclift Fela Barclift
Fela Barclift
Fela Barclift
JEGNA, BROOKLYN
Littlesunpeople.com
Partnering with parents and community to foster self-esteem and unassailably positive identity through an Afrocentric/Culturally Responsive curriculum built on 40 years of experience in early childhood education

NYC’s youngest residents deserve to be seen, heard and loved in their classrooms — particularly Black and Brown children who too often start at a disadvantage. For 40 years, Fela Barclift has led Little Sun People, an early childhood education center in Brooklyn with an Afrocentric/Culturally Responsive curriculum where children ages 2-5 can express themselves through African dance, drumming, music, martial arts, chess,  and play. Fela’s kids learn and grow by gardening, cooking, taking field trips (offsite, on campus, and virtually) and by supporting local Black-owned businesses.  It’s a community that joyfully celebrates, learns from, and is inspired by the countless contributions people of African descent have made to NYC and around the globe.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Fela Barclift, founder of Little Sun People, a childcare program with an African centered focus

Carmen Mojica Carmen Mojica
Carmen Mojica
Carmen Mojica
MIDWIFE, BRONX
Twitter.com/parteranegra
Highlighting the interplay of maternal health and community in the Bronx with a bilingual program emphasizing childbirth education, reproductive literacy, and lifelong sexual health

Carmen is a fierce advocate for reproductive health and justice, specifically to improve care for women of color — especially for Black women who are twelve times more likely to die in childbirth than white women in New York City — and increase young people’s access to sexual education. Because care is rooted in community, Carmen frames the maternal health conversation as a responsibility for all New Yorkers.

Alt text: Black and white photograph of Carmen Mojica, a midwife and advocate for reproductive health and justice

Robert Gore Robert Gore
Robert Gore
Robert Gore
DOCTOR, BROOKLYN
Kavibrooklyn.org | Instagram.com/siriema22
BRINGING TRAUMA-INFORMED METHODOLOGIES TO FRONTLINE CARE IN ORDER TO IMPROVE OUTCOMES FOR ALL NEW YORKERS

Robert Gore is an emergency physician and founder of the Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI). Drawing from 7+ years of experience, Robert hopes to reach all NYC frontline workers — police officers, healthcare workers, educators, firefighters — with a new virtual training program in holistic care and trauma-informed response. Robert envisions a New York where providers and recipients of care have the tools to transform trauma, leading to better physical and mental health outcomes.

Suzette Brown Suzette Brown
Suzette Brown
Suzette Brown
DOCTOR, QUEENS
Strongchildrenwellness.com
INTEGRATING BEST-IN-CLASS PEDIATRIC CARE WITHIN TRUSTED SOCIAL SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS AND ALIGNING PAYMENTS TO HEALTH OUTCOMES

Suzette is a pediatrician seeking to transform the way healthcare is delivered in NYC’s marginalized communities by using a ‘reverse integration’ model of care. After working with a single mom of seven who had become homeless after fleeing domestic violence, Suzette was inspired to collaborate within the fragmented social service / mental health system to more holistically support families. The Strong Children Wellness model embeds pediatric clinics within existing community-based social service and mental health organizations so that a comprehensive team — not just doctors — can fully address the needs of children and families. Strong Children Wellness plans to pilot a value-based payment system for pediatric care that is tied to improved health and well-being outcomes.

Laundromat Owner and Visionary Laundromat Owner and Visionary
Laundromat Owner and Visionary
Laundromat Owner and Visionary
ENTREPRENEUR, BROOKLYN
UTILIZING A LOCAL LAUNDROMAT AS A HUB FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
This Brooklynite is using her laundromat business to empower domestic violence victims, offering free wash-and-folds, clothing drives, and job training. Her initiative creates a roadmap for transforming other everyday New York storefronts into incubators of social change.
 
Kit Yan Kit Yan
Kit Yan
Kit Yan
STORYTELLER, CITYWIDE
Interstatemusical.com
TRANSFORMING THE STAGES OF NEW YORK TO SHARE STORIES FROM TRANSGENDER AND QUEER PEOPLE OF COLOR (LGBTQ POC)

Kit Yan and Melissa Li want to bring vibrant nontraditional voices to Broadway with their musical Interstate, a coming-of-age story about Queer and Trans Asian-American experiences. The musical, developed in NYC over 8 years, opened in Minneapolis to packed audiences and rave reviews. This underdog show wants to return home to New York and open on Broadway, empowering an important community of New Yorkers who deserve to be seen and heard.

Chino Hardin Chino Hardin
Chino Hardin
Chino Hardin
ORGANIZER, BROOKLYN
Nuleadership.org | Bklynboihood.com
DISRUPTING THE CYCLE OF MASS INCARCERATION AND INEQUITY BY CONNECTING THOSE IMPACTED TO NATURE AND INDIGENOUS & BLACK HEALING PRACTICES

Chino’s lived experience as a formerly incarcerated, Black and Indiginous Trans person provides deep inspiration for NuLegacy, a program designed to support Black, Indigenous, Queer & Trans New Yorkers whose lives have been devastated by prison involvement.  His radical idea?  To use ancestral healing practices and connect folks — sometimes for the first time — to nature.  For the last 20 years, Chino has taught youth and families in Bedstuy that stewardship of land and community can lead to healing and transformation.

Antya Waegemann Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
Antya Waegemann
DESIGNER, CITYWIDE
Redesignthekit.com
IMPROVING THE EXPERIENCE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVORS BY REDESIGNING THE EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS USED IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM AND BEYOND
Antya is a designer and advocate working at the intersection of survivors and health professionals in the aftermath of sexual assault.  In collaboration with co-founder Lona Vincent and an amazing community of non-profits, social workers, medical professionals, political leaders, and legal experts, Antya is working on an integrated resource – a redesigned sexual assault evidence kit and a digital app. For survivors, this project aims to improve accessibility, transparency and the experience of finding and getting kits. For healthcare providers, it will make it easier to administer kits, allowing them to provide better, trauma-informed care to patients in and out of the emergency room.
 

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